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Oil and gas group calls out republicans who won’t compromise to avoid gov’t shutdown 

An oil well in front of golden grassy bluffs.
BLM Wyoming
Flickr via CC BY 2.0

The federal government is nearing an almost inevitable shutdown this Sunday, and the oil and gas industry is worried.

A group representing oil and gas in western states like Wyoming is displeased with some Republicans, who are usually allies of the industry.

“We are frustrated that a handful of Republicans are willing to shut down the government because they're not getting 100 percent of what they want,” said Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance.

Sgamma is talking about the far-right Republicans in the House of Representatives who aren’t willing to compromise to keep the government open.

“So those few Republicans that are unwilling to come to any kind of compromise are going to be tagged with some of this energy inflation,” she said.

Sgamma said a lot of oil and gas production is on federal land, especially in Wyoming, and without the feds, she said there could be safety issues, permitting problems and price hikes.

“If you take away a month with a government shutdown, your permit that might have taken six months will now take seven months,” she said.

Sgamma says this could cause delays in development and even price increases.

A statewide oil and gas group is also sounding the alarm in the case of a shutdown. The Petroleum Association of Wyoming (PAW) sent a letter to the feds this week urging them to continue permitting throughout the shutdown.

“As the second largest source of revenue to the federal government, after the IRS, the federal mineral program can fully fund its staffing and operation costs,” said PAW President Pete Obermueller. “Permitting successfully continued during the 2019 shutdown and any attempt to shutter the program now would be nothing more than Washington political theater that would harm Wyoming communities.”

It’s unclear whether permitting will continue during a shutdown, which is set to happen Sunday.

Caitlin Tan is the Energy and Natural Resources reporter based in Sublette County, Wyoming. Since graduating from the University of Wyoming in 2017, she’s reported on salmon in Alaska, folkways in Appalachia and helped produce 'All Things Considered' in Washington D.C. She formerly co-hosted the podcast ‘Inside Appalachia.' You can typically find her outside in the mountains with her two dogs.
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