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Governor Gordon Signs 3 Bills that Support Wyoming’s Energy Sector

Gov. Mark Gordon speaks at a press conference Thursday.
Gov. Mark Gordon speaks at a press conference Thursday.(Will Thomas)
Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 11:51 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Release) - Governor Mark Gordon Gordon signed six bills into law on Thursday, April 15, including three that reflect the Governor’s support for Wyoming’s energy sector.

House Bill 166 will require public utilities to take additional steps before retiring coal or natural gas plants in the state. Utilities would be required to demonstrate to the Wyoming Public Service Commission that the retirements would not lead to added costs to ratepayers or less reliable electrical service.

“The experience Texas and others had earlier this year underscores how critical it is that our electric grid remains reliable, and that it continues to provide 24-hour dispatchable power. It is imperative that this be done without adding additional costs to Wyoming ratepayers,” Governor Gordon said.

“We already enjoy this because many existing power facilities currently operating in Wyoming are efficient and can produce power regardless of weather conditions,” the Governor added. “So if a utility plans to close a facility, it must show that a retirement will result in cost savings to customers, without compromising the dependability of their power supply.”

The Governor also signed Senate File 152 and House Bill 189. SF 152 prohibits cities, towns and counties from implementing ordinances or policies that prohibit “the connection or reconnection of an electric, natural gas, propane or other energy utility service provided by a public utility.” The bill protects Wyoming utility customers from having to pay higher rates because of ordinances that might prohibit the use of a specific energy source.

House Bill 189 provides an opportunity for oil producers to utilize natural gas that would normally be flared into the atmosphere for other productive purposes, including cryptocurrency mining.

These bills complete a slate of bills supported and signed by the Governor designed to promote and protect Wyoming energy-related products, including HB207, providing funding for potential litigation concerning export of coal and use of coal as a source of energy; SF43, the Wyoming Energy Authority amendments to encourage development of rare earth elements; SF136, authorizing the Wyoming Public Service Commission to fully consider reliability and economic consequences in Integrated Resource Plan reviews; and SJ3, stating opposition of Federal decisions regarding oil and gas production. The Governor also previously endorsed HJ 11, which states that the federal government should respect state sovereignty and urges the current Administration and Congress work with the state to develop federal land use policies “in a manner which recognizes their impacts on Wyoming citizens.”

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