oil and gas

ANDREW CULLEN / REUTERS/LANDOV

One of Joe Biden's first acts as president was to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline. Wyoming lawmakers, like senior Senator John Barrasso, hated that move and others.

Bob Beck


The Wyoming Legislature just wrapped up a session where $430 million was cut from the existing budget to make up for major losses of revenue connected with COVID-19.

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.

A Democratic firebrand in Congress has a new role overseeing the oil and gas industry.

California Rep. Katie Porter is known for her hard-hitting style. In her first two years in Congress, she grilled bank executives as a member of the powerful House Financial Services Committee. Now, as chair of the Natural Resources Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, she's doing the same to oil executives. 

Giniw Collective

U.S. Senators Cynthia Lummis and John Barrasso were confrontational during Rep. Deb Haaland's confirmation hearing for Interior Secretary. It was over Haaland's anti-fracking stance.

There’s high drama in the oil world right now. Last year, we saw prices go negative as a glut took over the world. Annual production fell by record amounts. Last week, though, prices shot up after oil-producing countries decided they would keep production low.


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.

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.

The Biden administration is considering an increase in royalty rates on oil, gas and coal development on public lands for the first time in more than a century.

 


Brittany Patterson

Wyoming U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis has introduced legislation that would prevent a moratorium on oil, gas, or coal without congressional approval.

 

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 preliminary BLM map of June 2021 parcels available for a Q2 Lease Sale in Wyoming
Bureau of Land Management

In an effort to address climate change, the Biden Administration handed down a series of executive actions including one that will pause onshore and offshore leasing of federal oil and gas. The majority of both oil and gas production in Wyoming occurs on federal land.

Catherine Wheeler

Despite the pandemic, Wyoming graduation rates rose again last year. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow said the statewide graduation rate was at 82.3 percent. It's the seventh straight year there was an increase.

Map of final parcels sold in BLM's Q4 lease sale
Bureau of Land Management

The Biden Administration has handed down a sweeping order that temporarily suspends several agency actions including the issuing of federal fossil fuel leases for the next 60 days, unless otherwise reviewed and approved by leadership.

CCO Public Domain

The state Senate Revenue Committee passed two bills that take different approaches to transitioning to a monthly ad valorem tax for the mining industry.

Dave Johnston Plant
Greg Goebel via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

Several companies interested in making money through carbon capture are taking steps to set up shop at the Dave Johnston Power Plant in Glenrock, Wyoming.

A portrayal of ambient air quality impacts within BLM's FEIS. EPA found its own model showed higher PM2.5 concentrations than presented through BLM's model.
BLM Eplanning

In official comments, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency raised concerns about how the Bureau of Land Management analyzed and presented air quality impacts for the recently-approved Converse County Oil and Gas Project.

Map of cultural resources, historic trails, and Native American concerns in the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Converse County Oil and Gas Project
Bureau of Land Management

Several tribes have filed letters of protest against the recently approved Converse County Oil and Gas Project. The U.S. Interior Department signed off on the project at the end of last year; it allows for the drilling of 5,000 wells over the next decade by five operators.

Robert Kaufmann, https://nara.getarchive.net/

A state program designed to help Wyoming tenants pay rent through the pandemic dispersed just a tenth of its original allotment; the rest of that money was redirected to other areas, such as oil and gas.

Image leading the Converse County Oil and Gas Project Record of Decision Document
Bureau of Land Management

The U.S. Department of the Interior has issued a record of decision allowing the Converse County Oil and Gas Project to move forward.

U.S. Senator John Barrasso, R-WY sitting next to President Donald Trump meeting with members of Congress in a bipartisan meeting to discuss infrastructure proposals in 2018
Public Domain/Shealah Craighead

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso voiced concern on Fox News Sunday as President-elect Joe Biden's climate team comes into focus. The Republican chairs the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and says he isn't planning to let nominations move forward without a fight.

Shale plays throughout the US
Wyoming Energy Authority

Dec. 15 was a busy day for federal oil and gas. New numbers detail the impact of possible restrictions to production, leases are being sold, and environmental groups are once again calling for a ban.

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.

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.

Cover page of supplemental draft environmental impact statement for the converse county oil and gas project
Bureau of Land Management

Multiple energy companies, Wyoming and Converse County are hoping to see a final decision signed that would enable a major oil and gas project to move forward before the Biden administration arrives on Jan. 20, 2021.

Several officials gave an update to the state legislature's Select Federal Natural Resource Management committee.

Proposed projects or LWCF funding from the Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land / The Trust for Public Land

The Interior Department is facing criticism for putting up barriers to conservation projects nationwide funded through the new Great American Outdoors Act.

Screetshot of initial court document in a case that's been ongoing for four years
Court Listener

Last March, a federal court ordered the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management to provide better analysis of the climate impacts of oil and gas leasing on public land. After receiving that analysis, the judge rules it's not enough.

President-elect Joe Biden wants to move the U.S. away from fossil fuel development, but he will face some challenges.

  

In May of 2020, the Converse County trailer park quickly emptied out after the pandemic hit and oil and gas activity declined.
Cooper McKim

Gov. Mark Gordon will use $15 million in CARES Act funds to create the Energy Rebound Program, a program intended to boost oil and gas activity in Wyoming. At the moment, there are five active rigs in the state compared to 25 at the beginning of the year.

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