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News Record: The word is (finally) getting out
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News Record: The word is (finally) getting out

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Gillette News Record (April 24)- That Wyoming is a national and global leader in carbon and carbon dioxide research is no secret to anyone living in the Cowboy State for the past decade.

Now that the word’s getting out more, it’s also becoming painfully obvious that much of the rest of the United States seems rather oblivious to the innovation happening here and the potential for solutions that could pave the way for a truly clean future for fossil fuels.

That hit home Thursday as we were watching a livestream hearing on carbon utilization technologies for the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, is the ranking member of the committee and brought the committee to the Integrated Test Center for a field hearing last summer.

It was extremely disappointing that he was the only member of the committee to actually show up. And judging by some of the remarks and questions from the other senators on the committee during Thursday’s hearing, they certainly need to pay more attention to what we have cooking here.

For example, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, acknowledged that the research is “certainly worth more investment,” but also had a clear anti-fossil fuels bias.

Others seemed genuinely concerned, but asked such basic questions that made us wonder why they’re on this important committee if they’re not willing to become the “experts” on the subject for the Senate.

While it was frustrating to see some ignorance from a few committee members, we were pleased to see Wyoming so prominently featured as ground zero for CO2 and other carbon research. At one point in kicking off the hearing, Barrasso even held up a copy of the Gillette News Record’s front page from April 10, which featured a cover story on the Integrated Test Center and the potential for the research happening there.

Many on the committee seemed genuinely impressed with the testimony of Jason Begger, the ITC’s managing director, and Professor Gaurav Sant, founder of CarbonBuilt, which won the coal-fired track of the NRG COSIA Carbon XPrize. Both spoke highly of what Wyoming is doing to solve the global CO2 crisis.

That may come as a surprise to many outside the Cowboy State who believe all Wyoming wants to do is pull huge amounts of coal out of the ground, burn it and to Hades with the environmental consequences.

We know better, and it’s about time the rest of the nation — regardless of political affiliation — realize that we’re not only experts at mining coal, we’re also the most committed to removing CO2 from our emissions.

The Gillette News Record is the newspaper of record in Campbell County.

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