Wyoming Governor Vows to Fight Obama Administration Over Coal

Published February 17, 2015

In his recent State of the State address, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead vowed to fight for coal with “bulldog determination.”

Mead addressed state legislators regarding the coal industry on January 14, when he described the Obama administration’s agenda as the largest onslaught ever against a single industry.

“In coming years, I will continue to work with bulldog determination on coal initiatives, port expansion, new technology and value-added products,” Mead said. “And in coming years, we don’t need to let up, we need to double down. We must assure coal’s continuity.”

Largest Coal-Producing State

Michelle Panos, spokesperson for the governor’s office, said Wyoming is the largest coal-producing state in the country.

“The coal industry provides thousands of direct jobs and supports thousands of indirect jobs. Coal lease revenues support Wyoming schools and infrastructure. Coal is a necessary component of the country’s electric generation mix,” she said.

“Gov. Mead believes coal is vital to the state and the nation, and he is working to support coal in a number of ways,” Panos added.

Funding R&D

“The governor has pushed for research to develop new technologies. For example, last year the governor asked for and the legislature appropriated $15 million for an Integrated Test Center. In 2012, $10 million in AML funds was appropriated to the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources for clean coal research. Gov. Mead continues to support the Advanced Conversion Task Force in its work on a variety of coal technologies. From 2007 to 2014, this Task Force has received many millions in state and matching private funding,” Panos said.

Mead has also instructed Wyoming’s attorney general to file or join suits as necessary to protect coal production, and Wyoming is an active participant in litigation concerning the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, Regional Haze, and the EPA’s proposed 111(d) rule.

In his State of the State address, Mead also said he will keep pressing for access to Pacific coast ports so Wyoming can export its coal overseas. Wyoming and Montana are both appealing a recent decision by the state of Oregon to reject an energy company’s proposal to build a coal terminal on the Columbia River.

John Eick, director of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force, praised Gov. Mead’s efforts to protect coal production. He stated, “For nearly a century, coal has provided reliable, relatively inexpensive electricity to homes and businesses. It has also provided well-paying jobs for thousands. It’s good to see Gov. Mead leaping to the defense of this industry that has done so much for the country.”