What could a second Obama term mean for energy, the environment?

Nov 19, 2012

During the campaign season, many fossil fuel developers dreaded the idea of a second term for President Obama.

Bruce Hinchey of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming says during the last four years, it’s been harder to secure oil and gas leases on federal land, get drilling permits, and have environmental impact statements approved.

But Bob Spencer of the Equality State Policy Center says it’s prudent for the administration to strike a balance between mineral production and preserving land for wildlife and public enjoyment.

“I think they’ve been working towards it for the last 4 years, and I think they’ll continue to … try to protect those areas and those lands that need to have that protection,” Spencer says.

Spencer and Hinchey both sides expect the administration will offer more support for developing renewable energy sources.

Sam Kalen teaches law at the University of Wyoming, but also worked for the Department of Interior under the Clinton Administration. He says people should be looking less at the president, and more at the market. Kalen says the Department of Defense has a huge budget, and is influencing trends in energy-efficient building and alternative fuel sources.

“I think one of the upcoming issues is going to be whether or not we can see, from an energy perspective, more transportation fuels change over to natural gas as opposed to gasoline.”

Kalen says he’s also interested in the future of the DKRW coal-to-gasoline plant proposed for Medicine Bow, which could increase production and use of Wyoming coal if it goes online.