Curbing greenhouse gas emissions from coal is not a new policy ambition, and neither is the effect of the coal lobby’s refusal to negotiate. For many years now, American utilities have conducted what many would consider a smart reaction to the political uncertainty created by the coal lobby and has pulled coal from its planning.
Wyoming coal — in terms that coal is one of Wyoming’s powerhouse economic drivers — is likely to continue to lose its share of the U.S. utility market to natural gas due in large part to huge operational successes in tapping shale gas reserves, a phenomenon that has changed geopolitics and the world energy picture. And rather than pull anthropogenic (man-made) CO2 from coal-fired power plant stacks for carbon sequestration, oil and gas drillers will instead chase after natural geologic reserves of CO2 to fuel a burgeoning enhanced oil recovery industry due to the high price of crude oil.
Exporting a modest percentage of domestic oil and natural gas to high-paying markets overseas would likely be very good for our economy. Our Wyoming coal producers certainly intend to increase their export of American coal to Asia. Bu without a national energy policy, and left to the winds of geopolitics and international markets, how can we expect that America’s domestic coal, oil and natural gas will actually serve our “energy independence” interests?
When it comes to energy development, it’s crystal clear where Wyoming’s governor and its congressional delegation stand; Wyoming is open for business, and most any environmental concern can be satisfactorily addressed through “new technologies” — not by limiting development.
And these new technologies are only available so long as there’s a business-friendly atmosphere, that’s why it’s important to hold the line on taxes and overly-burdensome regulation, according to Wyoming’s Republican Gov. Matt Mead.