Republicans in Wyoming’s state House and Senate introduced legislation this week that would allocate funding to protect the state’s coal industry and the reliability of the electrical grid against discriminatory interstate policies.
House Bill 207, which was introduced in the House Tuesday, would provide $1.2 million to the Office of the Governor to prosecute state governments that impede Wyoming’s ability to export coal and coal-fire electricity.
The bill is co-sponsored by several representatives and senators, among them Sheridan County representatives Mark Jennings and Cyrus Western and Sheridan County Senator Bo Biteman.
Representative Jeremy Haroldson, who introduced the bill, said the recent energy crisis in Texas, which caused over 70 deaths and left millions of people without power, underscores the importance of grid reliability. He said if other states are allowed to shut out Wyoming’s electricity exports, Wyoming’s plants could be forced to shut down.
Wyoming exports two-thirds of the electricity it produces to surrounding states, and about 80 percent of that power is generated b by coal-fired plants.
Haroldson said coal is one of Wyoming’s largest economic drivers, and Wyoming is the largest and most efficient producer of coal in the U.S., accounting for nearly 40 percent of domestic production. Over 90 percent of coal mined in Wyoming is shipped out of state and overseas.
Haroldson said especially as Wyoming faces mounting budget deficits and hostile federal policies, we cannot allow other states to punish our energy producers and threaten the reliability of Wyoming’s electricity to achieve what he called “short-sighted political wins.”