Gordon refuses federal funding for climate initiatives

Gordon Rejects Federal Climate Dollars

Gordon Rejects Federal Climate Dollars

Wyoming has made the decision to decline $3 million and the opportunity to apply for more funding from the federal Climate Pollution Reduction Grant program. Governor Mark Gordon stated that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) insisted on revising the state’s draft “Cowboy State Pollution Reduction Plan” application and removing flexibility in how the state could spend federal dollars from future Climate Pollution Reduction Grant awards. This decision by the EPA amounts to a bait-and-switch tactic according to Gordon.

The CPRG program, funded through the Inflation Reduction Act, aims to assist states in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful air pollution. In simpler terms, the EPA wants to fund the climate pollution reduction plans that states will use to comply with upcoming climate and environment regulations.

However, negotiations between the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and the EPA did not go well. Gordon concluded that the EPA’s actions would force Wyoming to prematurely shut down its “all-of-the-above” energy development approach. He expressed his concerns in a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan on November 30.

Wyoming DEQ employee Muthu Kuchanur at work in 2015.
Wyoming DEQ employee Muthu Kuchanur at work in 2015. (Courtesy/Wyoming DEQ)

While individual municipalities may still collaborate with the EPA on climate pollution reduction efforts, most communities across Wyoming will no longer have the opportunity to participate or apply for additional CPRG funds. The EPA is looking into whether Wyoming’s two largest cities might still be eligible to participate.

Meanwhile, Governor Gordon is proposing an additional $3.4 million to be added to Wyoming DEQ’s budget to meet ongoing federal mandates. He believes that this funding is necessary for Wyoming to have control over its own destiny in the current environment of federal activism.

Loggerheads with EPA

Wyoming’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy frequently clashes with the EPA’s federal climate and pollution rules. Disagreements over regional haze controls at the Jim Bridger coal-fired power plant in 2022 led to potential shutdowns. Governor Gordon believes that the EPA’s approach is heavy-handed and threatens Wyoming’s goals for carbon capture and maintaining fossil fuels in the nation’s energy mix.

Gordon expressed his concerns in a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, stating that the pending 70 air quality rules by the EPA will impose significant economic impacts, create regulatory uncertainty, and require Wyoming to do more with less. While Governor Gordon and Regan have agreed to work on technology advancements for carbon capture, the compatibility of Wyoming’s overall climate-and-fossil-fuels approach with the Biden administration’s climate priorities is still a complex legal matter.

Read More of this Story at wyofile.com – 2023-12-07 11:25:00

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