Economy

Dave Freudenthal

Carbon capture, utilization and storage continue to gain steam across Wyoming, with Governor Mark Gordon urging Congress last month to consider a bill that supports infrastructure for the technology. The hope is that carbon capture tech will take off in Wyoming and help offset the cost and emissions of a coal plant - and then keep it open. There's plenty of doubt about whether that can work.

Wyoming leaders have supported the tech since around 2008, when coal production in the state first began to decline. Energy and Natural Resources reporter Cooper McKim spoke with former Governor Dave Freudenthal about the origins of the state's vision for carbon capture and why it didn't gain traction right away. Noa Greenspan, producer for the audio series Carbon Valley, put together the interview.


Visitors have flocked to Western communities during the pandemic to soak in the region’s public lands. But how many visitors? While the National Park Service closely monitors visitation, national forests and the Bureau of Land Management lack an efficient and cost-effective way to measure foot traffic.

Many oil, gas and coal-dependent communities around the Mountain West are concerned about the Biden administration's aggressive stance on climate change. But a recent survey of hundreds of economists around the world suggests that reducing emissions now will save us financially in the long run. 

Oil and gas drilling on Jay Butler's property in Converse County
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

A new report from the Wyoming Department of Administration and Information shows that Wyoming's economy is rebounding from the early months of the pandemic but several key metrics are far behind where they were a year ago.

Jimmy Emerson, DVM via CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Wyoming House and Senate adopted a new state budget that reduces over $400 million from the existing two-year budget.

Jimmy Emerson via CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Wyoming House and Senate continued work on the state budget by considering a number of amendments.

June 2021 Preliminary Sale Parcels posted by BLM; the oil and gas lease sale scheduled for March was postponed due to the pause on oil and gas leasing on federal lands
Bureau of Land Management


Wyoming's U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney envisions a dark future for her home state under President Joe Biden.

If the new administration extends its pause on new oil and gas drilling on public land, it would endanger Wyoming's economy, kill 18,000 jobs and cause the energy state to lose out on critical education, infrastructure, and healthcare funding. Biden would be "cutting off a major lifeline that Americans have relied on to survive during this time," she has said.

Stephanie Joyce / Wyoming Public Radio

The Wyoming legislature has started work on a budget that proposes $450 million in cuts. The reductions are due to declining revenues from the energy industry and impacts from COVID-19.

Wyoming PBS/Screenshot

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said the state of the state is good, despite a difficult financial year thanks to COVID-19. During his annual address, Gordon said the damage of the virus will last a long time.

State of Wyoming


Wyoming's legislature meets next week and among the topics will be education spending and budget cuts. Gov. Mark Gordon joined Bob Beck to talk about a number of things including some of the budget challenges the state is facing.

Wyoming Legislature

During a Wyoming House Education Committee meeting, School District officials said they have been cutting budgets for many years and those cuts are starting to erode programs. The committee is looking at cutting education funding by $100 million.

Photo: 123RF.COM

A Wyoming legislative committee has voted down a tax bill that could have raised over $40 million in the next three years by removing the sales tax exemption on large data centers.

Economic Development professionals and the Mayor of Cheyenne opposed the bill, telling lawmakers that data centers as they are provide more of an economic impact than a sales tax would provide.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort / Instagram

Despite the pandemic, Jackson Hole hosted more visitors this past December than in that same month for 2019. But it's not all about skiing.

Anna Olson, CEO of Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, said they are seeing a different mix of visitors.

Public Domain


Many small businesses throughout the country have taken a hit during the pandemic. But in Wyoming, various grant programs have helped businesses, nonprofits and even churches whether the storm.

Wyoming Taxpayers Association

Wyoming lawmakers have been in a cutting mode since coal revenues started to decline, but with oil and gas also bringing in less money than usual it's tougher for the state to pay for services. Lawmakers plan to address their budget shortfall by approving a number of cuts to the current state budget when they meet in March.

One solution is to raise taxes, but for many the solution is to reform the tax structure, so that energy does not pay the majority of taxes in the state. Ashley Harpstreith is the Executive Director of the Wyoming Taxpayers Association. She explains why her organization likes this approach.

Bob Beck

The Wyoming Senate voted Friday to cut funding to local governments for the coming year. The reduction is part of the need to address the loss of revenue to the state due to the downturn in the energy industry. The $10.5 million reduction will impact communities differently, but likely will impact things like staffing and services to the public.

 

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden ordered a temporary suspension of new leasing and permitting for oil and gas development on public lands. But the order will not apply to tribal lands.

A new report finds that pandemic-related job loss will cause twice as much chronic homelessness than the 2008 Great Recession, with Latinos and African Americans especially vulnerable.

Adobe Stock


Rebecca Travers lives in Casper, Wyo. Until late last year, the 42-year-old had been working at a non-profit that helps volunteer organizations across the state.

Jupiter Oxygen

Jupiter Oxygen Corporation has plans to set up shop right here in Wyoming.

"We looked at Texas. We looked at North Dakota. We looked at Colorado, New Mexico... We homed in on Wyoming for a number of, I think, right reasons," said Steve Krimsky, senior vice President of operations for Jupiter Oxygen.

https://www.wyomingsense.gov/cares-act


The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, known as the CARES Act, was the largest stimulus bill ever passed in the United States. Wyoming's cut - $1.25 billion - went to various sectors of the economy, but there's criticism of how that money was split up and concerns that the state will need more funding as the pandemic continues.

Wyoming2030

This month, a series of virtual events aims to talk about Wyoming's future through the lens of children and family in the state.

The Wyoming Afterschool Alliance and Wyoming Community Foundation are partnering up for the initiative called Wyoming 2030. It aims to broaden the public education discussion by hosting a series of virtual events every Tuesday of January.

Melodie Edwards

The pandemic has worsened food, health and housing insecurity across the country and in Wyoming. A new study shows that for many families in the state, these issues are front and center.

Wind Farm Near Wheatland
Holly Copeland

The legislature's Joint Revenue Committee once again considered and voted against a bill that would have raised the generation tax on wind. This time from $1 per megawatt hour to $2 per megawatt hour. The bill would have also removed a three-year tax exemption enjoyed by wind energy producers.

Catherine Wheeler

With COVID-19's effects on business throughout the state, there have been concerns how all of Wyoming's small businesses are faring especially during this holiday season. Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler spoke with Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce CEO Dixie Johnson about how Sheridan businesses have adapted this year. Johnson began by describing how a local holiday tradition was affected.

BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT

A state legislative committee is discussing the last stages of approval for a major oil and gas project in Converse County. The U.S. Department of Interior just has to sign the Record of Decision (ROD), which Select Federal Natural Resource Management committee members like Douglas Sen. Brian Boner is anxious to finish or even speed up.

Juntos

Experts say that immigrants can help bolster a community's declining population, but many small towns, which are common in the West, struggle to attract them. Gateways For Growth (G4G) is a national program that tries to help these towns become welcoming to immigrant populations.

Patrick Amole via wyomingbusiness.org/ERP

Wyoming will double its contribution of federal CARES Act funds to the oil and gas industry through the Energy Rebound Program.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming has recently opened its Center for Blockchain and Digital Innovation. Only a handful of universities in the country have this kind of center, and UW hopes this will help to diversify the state's economy. Wyoming Public Radio's Kamila Kudelska spoke with the new center's director Steven Lupien to discuss what unique resources the center will offer. First, Lupien explained what a blockchain is.

Ekaterina Pokrovsky / Adobe Stock


When Willow Belden goes holiday shopping she likes to support local businesses. This year, though, it's meant calling stores and asking, "Are you guys wearing masks? But are you really wearing masks? And, like, what else are you doing?"

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