Gov. Matt Mead’s office on Wednesday released a list of 73 initiatives that comprise the draft of the state’s new energy policy.
The list was crafted after seeking public input. It runs the gamut from creating education programs for Wyoming students to installing compressed natural gas infrastructure to studying other commercial uses for the state’s energy.
“The people of Wyoming have produced some very innovative ideas and I believe that together we can create a strategy that will ensure Wyoming continues to be a leader in energy development, economic growth and in conservation,” Mead said in a statement issued Wednesday.
The public’s role in crafting the policy isn’t done yet.
The next step in the formation of a Wyoming energy policy will be to vet each of the initiatives — referred to as “building blocks” on the governor’s Web page — through a feedback process expected to last well into 2013.
The public process could include addition, subtraction or revision of initiatives and will begin with a series of public meetings in early December to discuss them.
Shawn Reese, Mead’s policy director, introduced a draft overview of the plan to the state Legislature’s Joint Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee at an October hearing. The proposed energy policy consists of four main subtopics, each of which includes specific initiatives.
One such subtopic prioritized by the state is economic expansion. The draft list includes 19 expansion initiatives aimed at increasing energy production, creating infrastructure and promoting new industries. Initiatives include forums to discuss coal exports, increasing natural gas sales contract lengths, revisiting state eminent domain law and exploring the compressed and liquefied natural gas and carbon dioxide markets in the state.
The energy policy will also seek to streamline energy regulation in the state. The more than 20 regulatory initiatives released Wednesday included measures that could reduce inconsistencies and support studies to smooth out regulatory gaps and inefficiencies. The measures listed also encourage studying whether Wyoming could regulate its own uranium industry, creating a certified oil and gas operator program built on operator history and reputation, and forming a state energy policy office.
Conservation is also among the state’s energy priorities. The policy draft includes 14 initiatives aimed at conserving natural resources and prioritizing reclamation and mitigation after projects. Specific measures to be pursued by the state could provide incentives for reclamation and mitigation and encourage more specific study of energy impacts on wildlife.
The fourth subtopic — education, innovation and new technologies — includes 11 initiatives. Among the state’s priorities are creation of an elementary education program based on natural resources and workforce safety training programs at community colleges, and further study of integrated energy systems and emissions control technology.
Members of the public can review the list and comment on each initiative via a Web survey on Mead’s website.
The office will also hold a series of online and telephone conferences Dec. 6 and 7 to take questions on the initiatives and summarize the plan’s main points.
“This energy strategy is about charting a course for Wyoming, and I ask that people make time to provide us with feedback and ideas,” Mead said.