By Richard Garrett, Jr.

IN RECOGNITION OF THE CRITICAL CHALLENGES that energy development, generation, and transmission pose to our core mission, the Wyoming Outdoor Council has initiated an energy program.

We believe this new program is an important addition to our portfolio and will give us the chance to better represent our members’ interests and concerns as decisions are made about energy generation, distribution, and use that will affect our state for years and generations to come.

As the global economy moves toward putting a price tag on greenhouse gas emissions, Wyoming is at a crossroads.

Wyoming’s economy is today driven by the production and export of fossil fuels.

Because of this, the state’s political, business and environmental leadership has recognized that we must find new and cost-effective technologies for reducing the state’s carbon footprint (which is directly and indirectly one of the largest in the nation) while managing the state’s financial health.

Meanwhile, the Outdoor Council believes that this must be accomplished while conserving Wyoming’s most enduring and richest values, namely our open spaces, heritage landscapes, clean air and water, and thriving wildlife.

As part of this new energy program, the Wyoming Outdoor Council will:

  • Participate in the planning and management of new sources of electricity and transportation fuel as well as electrical transmission. This will include examining the consequences of hundreds of miles of proposed high-voltage electric transmission corridors and an estimated 1,700 new miles of wind-energy collector lines.
  • Address advanced technologies for new and existing power generation and carbon sequestration projects.
  • Promote state-level policies that remove barriers to energy efficiency and distributed, renewable electricity.
  • Encourage state legislators to invest sizable funds for renewable energy research and application at the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources.
  • Promote state and utility policies to bolster renewable energy and efficiency through our participation in the Western Governors’ Association.
  • Lobby for state-level policies and legislation that enable Wyoming to do its part—as the nation’s largest producer of coal and its biggest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases—to limit and offset carbon emissions.

As legislative advocate, and now having assumed the additional duty of energy advocate, it’s my purpose and obligation to offer the Council’s perspective on our state’s legislative activities and energy portfolio.

We don’t have all of the answers (and we know of no one who does). Nevertheless, the Council’s expertise and ability to weigh a variety of challenging issues and to define a common need—conservation—means that we are well positioned to be effective participants in the energy revolution.

Over the course of the next several weeks and months I will offer up ideas and analysis on what the state is doing and should do to reduce its carbon footprint.

Contact: Richard Garrett, Jr., energy and legislative advocate, Wyoming Outdoor Council, 307-332-7031 x18; 307-438-9516; richard@wyomingoutdoorcouncil.org.

West Edge