Since 1945, Wyoming’s energy and natural resources have had significant impacts on the state’s economy. During World War II, there was a high demand for Wyoming’s oil, coal, lumber, and meat. After the War, the economy remained steady due to an increase in tourism and the discovery of two valuable minerals: Trona and Uranium. In the 1960s, the first coal-fired electric-power generation plants in Wyoming were built, establishing a reliable local market for coal and the national energy crisis of the 1970s helped initiate a coal-mining boom in the state that lasted into the early ‘80s. With increased expansion into oil and natural gas production over the past decade, Wyoming faced additional challenges with regard to resource conservation and environmental issues.
Since 2011, Wyoming has successfully worked to balance Bureau of Land Management Resource Management Plans, along with national forest plans, to include protections for water, air, and wildlife while maintaining opportunities for agriculture, recreation, and industry. In addition, the state has increased funding to the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust, made strides in workplace safety, and in partnership with other states, is increasing the supply of natural gas vehicles. The Energy, Engineering and STEM Integration Task Force is also charting a path to lead the University of Wyoming toward becoming a tier one engineering college.
The Governor’s Energy Strategy is a tiered plan to continue making accomplishments with regard to managing energy and environmental resources. Two years in the making, the state energy policy was designed to be regularly revised, updated, and integrated into the state’s planning and budgeting processes. Building on the successes of past years, it will help the state establish plans for the future so that Wyoming can maintain its position as the top energy-exporting state while preserving its wild, scenic, and pristine landscapes.
It’s a top priority for Governor Mead, one that has been prefaced numerous times by past governors over the last five decades.
Governor Cliff Hansen in an address to State Legislature in 1965:
“States’ rights are without force unless they are coupled with state responsibility.”
Governor Stan Hathaway’s 2nd Inaugural Address on January 4, 1971:
“We must continue to develop Wyoming’s mineral resources without deteriorating the environment, because these mineral resources are important—not only to the welfare of Wyoming —but to the welfare of the nation. Because we have these great resources, and because we are yet untouched by many of the problems that plague the more populous states of this nation, we have a magnificent opportunity to guide our own destiny. To plan for a quality life, not just for this generation, but for generations to come.”
Governor Ed Herschler’s State of the State Address on January 16, 1975:
“The challenge facing us can be simply stated: ‘What role are the citizens of this State going to play in determining the conditions under which growth and development take place? Will our human and natural resources be utilized on our terms or will we be overwhelmed by the larger economic political forces that surround us?’”
Governor Milward Simpson in an interview with John Hinckley in 1977:
“I seek great tolerance between elements which can jeopardize Wyoming’s future. And by that I mean there is a certain amount of worthwhile-ness in what the environmentalists and the ecologists are doing and a certain amount of merit to adequate and decent mining of our minerals. I wish these two elements, instead of warring, would get together and come to some compromise that would auger well for the future of our state.”
Governor Mike Sullivan’s Inaugural Address on January 5, 1987:
“I believe that America’s great experiment in liberty includes the economic freedom for the private sector to work with government. More pragmatically, I believe that we must weld the self-interest of commerce with the self-interest of Wyoming’s government and its people if we are to assume our rightful place in this country’s economic dream.”
Governor Jim Geringer on January 2, 1995:
“No ideas are too bold to be considered for Wyoming. We are a state of great people with unlimited energy and great ideas. We will build creative partnerships involving business, education, and government. Let me state clearly—Wyoming is open for business!”
Governor Dave Freudenthal’s 2004 State of the State Address:
“The other thing we should not forget is that the same national energy economy that fills our coffers could inadvertently turn our state into a water and wildlife wasteland. This is no time to reduce our efforts to protect our environment, our water and our wildlife. Do we want future generations to conclude that those of us in this hall traded the Wyoming heritage for a few years of high government revenues and low personal taxes? I think not.”