The Joint Minerals committee shot down a draft bill Friday that would have required legislative approval for state agencies to comply with the Obama administration’s signature climate change law.
The Clean Power Plan requires states make significant cuts in carbon emissions from power plants. Wyoming has a targeted reduction of 44 percent.
Representative Norine Kasperik (R-Gillette) drafted the bill.
"I don't think the stakes could be higher for Wyoming," she said.
Kasperik told the committee she wanted to make sure the Legislature isn’t left out of the loop as the state figures out how to respond to the Clean Power Plan. The draft bill, which is similar to one floated by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) last year, would have prohibited the Department of Environmental Quality from complying unless the Legislature approved the plan.
Although members of the committee were largely united in their opposition to the Clean Power Plan, several argued the bill could hurt Wyoming by giving the federal government a reason to impose its own plan.
“I agree with the good Representative that this is an important issue and something that we need to stay on top of, but something of this magnitude isn’t quite right,” said committee co-chair Representative Tom Lockhart (R-Casper).
The Department of Environmental Quality, the Public Service Commission and all three of the state’s major utilities also opposed the bill.
The Committee voted the bill down on a nine to five vote.