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Lawmakers look abroad for new coal markets in state income discussions

With the start of the legislative session Tuesday, lawmakers have begun to lay out ideas for state income opportunities and budget priorities. With a slow-down in energy revenue predicted for the next decade, House Speaker, Thomas Lubnau, says Wyoming should look for new opportunities abroad.

“15% of Australia’s gross domestic product, about 1 in every 5 dollars of the Australian economy, is shipping coal to Asia. And there’s a huge opportunity for Wyoming to hop into that market if we can figure out a way to get ports either on the Gulf Coast or in Washington or Oregon.”

Coal production in Wyoming for 2012 is down 9% from last year due to decreased demand for coal domestically. But Minority Floor Leader, Mary Throne, says despite the revenue potential, Wyoming should proceed responsibly.

“Wyoming really has to play a leadership role in continuing to advocate for the use of coal, both domestically and internationally. However, of course, we also have to be realistic the challenges facing coal. And so we can be a strong advocate for the environmentally safe use of all available energy resources.”    

U.S. coal export facilities are currently in the permitting process.

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