(Gillette News Record, September 26) – Public hearings on an EPA regulation to cut carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent by 2030 only came as close as Denver to the self-declared Energy Capital of the Nation.
That didn’t stop Wyoming’s U.S. senators, Gov. Matt Mead, other legislators, and business and community leaders from leading an Affordable Energy Rally on of about 300 people in Gillette on Thursday to oppose the regulation.
Arguments about the regulation have largely been laid out, and the consensus in Campbell County, where about 40 percent of the nation’s coal and 10 percent of the nation’s energy resources are produced, is clear — the restrictive regulation would put a choke-hold on energy production.
Speakers at the rally laid out the importance of Campbell County and Gillette residents telling their stories and making their voices heard by writing letters to the EPA opposing the regulation.
“We need to take a little time and do a few little things,” said Travis Deti, a director of the Wyoming Mining Association. Going out and doing the little things — taking a few minutes to write a personal comment on the proposed rule — will help some of the big-picture changes happen, he said.
“Tell your story,” Deti said. “Try to change someone’s view by telling your story.”
Gov. Mead said opposing this rule is important for Wyoming and other coal producing regions, but it will also affect every aspect of daily life by making energy less affordable.
EPA’s estimates say the rule will, on average, increase energy costs by between 6 and 7 percent by 2020, but also reduce demand for energy through efficiency measures.
When the proposal was announced, Mead said a Wall Street Journal reporter asked him what the rule will mean for Wyoming. He told the reporter that was a good question, but another question would be better.
“The best question would be what is it going to mean for the country,” Mead said.
Sen. John Barrasso said the rule would mean significant costs to the U.S. economy and have little, if any, positive impact on carbon dioxide emissions.
“You want to see some cost benefit analysis,” Barrasso said. “They can’t prove there’s any benefit.”
The best thing for Gillette and Campbell County residents to do is to write letters, talk to people and start conversations, Sen. Mike Enzi said.
“This is an essential place to start the rally for energy,” Enzi said. “This is the Enerty Capital of the Nation, and if we don’t start it, it’s not going to get done.”
Making the EPA take the time to respond to letters opposing the rule, which the agency is legally required to do, is absolutely necessary to stop the rule, he said.
“It is essential that you write those letters, that you get others to write those letters,” Enzi said. “And we’re not going to let them do their usual thing, which is to say ‘no response necessary.’ There is a response necessary. They need to know what’s going on out here before they approve any final rule.”