President Trump has decided to leave the 2015 Paris climate agreement and many advocates in the coal industry say the move will be beneficial for Wyoming.
Coal production has been in decline for close to a decade and Wyoming’s congressional delegation says that leaving the climate agreement could help turn that around. Economists, though, often blame natural gas and renewable energy as reasons for coal's decline - not regulation.
Governor Matt Mead said Wyoming will need more than this for the coal industry to rebound.
“We can’t as a state say now we’re out of the Paris agreement and so all is good for coal,” he said, “I think really It’s time for not only the state, but the country to double down on innovation and research to address the issue of CO2.”
Mead said that includes research into clean coal.
Some energy companies including Cloud Peak and ExxonMobil released statements showing support for the agreement. The Mayor of Gillette, Louise Carter-King, agreed that there are two sides to this issue: saying that it may help cut regulation away from the energy industry, but she added that it also deprives the U.S. of a seat at the table when it comes to global negotiations on fossil fuel emissions.
Governor Matt Mead was similarly torn.
He said, “We cannot cede leadership on this issue to other countries. I think we need to re-engage and have this discussion on CO2 on a global fashion if we’re going to be able to sell coal for the next 100 plus years.”