Target: Matt Mead, Governor of Wyoming
Goal: Kill a bill designed to prolong the state’s dependence on fossil fuels.
On the very first day of Wyoming’s 2017 state legislative session, lawmakers introduced a bill that would prevent state utilities from reaping the benefits of large-scale renewable energy initiatives. The bill would require that “eligible sources” be used to meet 100 percent of the state’s energy needs by 2019 – eligible sources meaning coal, hydroelectric, natural gas, nuclear, and oil, and also including net metering sources (small-scale, individual renewable projects, such as rooftop solar). Oddly enough, renewable power companies would still be permitted to operate inside the state of Wyoming under this bill, they just wouldn’t be able to sell their energy to in-state residents. Utilities attempting to sell wind or solar power within Wyoming would be saddled with $10 penalties per megawatt hour. Shannon Anderson, director of Powder River Basin Resource Council, called this “essentially a reverse renewable energy standard,” and predicts there will be “a lot of concerns about its workability.”
The bill has nine sponsors, two state senators and seven representatives, some of whom are climate deniers and many of whom come from Wyoming’s top coal-producing counties. Of course, it isn’t illogical that these elected officials would want to represent their constituents and attempt to protect them from losing jobs to progress. However, climate change aside, there simply is no way around the fact that coal is a dying industry. Wind and solar power are becoming steadily cheaper to produce; furthermore, these are industries driven by technologies rather than limited natural resources. Keeping coal on life support does not make economic sense, and is in nobody’s best interest.
According to Wyoming state law, any and all bills passed by the legislature must be presented to the governor, and are therefore subject to his approval or disapproval. Convince Governor Mead to veto this bill if it comes before him. It would be a huge step backwards for Wyoming to exclude itself from the tide of renewable energy – the Governor must ensure that this bill does not become law.
Dear Governor Mead,
When I heard about the bill recently filed in Wyoming’s state legislature that would bar renewable energy from state utilities, I was shocked. This type of legislative attack on clean energy is unprecedented. If passed, the bill will only deny Wyoming the benefits of its own energy potential, and ensure continued damage to the environment.
This is why I am writing with a request: you must pledge to veto this bill if it comes before you. Last year your state energy strategy included growth of Wyoming’s budding renewable sector, and you stated your recognition that “renewables have an important role now and they will have a greater role later.” This is a true statement, and to plan on phasing renewable sources out of Wyoming’s state power supply in the next few years directly contradicts this notion. Why let residents of other states enjoy increasingly cheap wind energy harvested in Wyoming, while the folks at home deal with mercury pollution from coal plants? It would be a travesty for this bill to become law.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Steve Ralston