Senator John Barrasso stopped by KOWB/Laramie Live on Thursday. Though the building hasn’t changed much since his last visit (except David Settle’s piles of paper are more organized), the energy sector has. After discussing 7220 Sports’ Cowboys Pregame show and to my delight, Barrasso’s appreciation of Tom Osborne, we sat down to talk about the state of Wyoming’s energy.

Barrasso presented at the Petroleum Association of Wyoming’s 2023 Rockies Petroleum Conference, and he discussed keeping energy costs low for Wyomingites and our nation alike. 

“Affordable, available, reliable energy is what we have here in Wyoming, and it’s what people want,” Barrasso said. 

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Far from the idea of environmental pilfering and polluting for the sake of cheap energy, Barrasso believes Wyoming is leading the charge for making all energy clean and accessible. 

“There are lots of things we’re doing in Wyoming that have been leading the way. The country should be following us.”

Barrasso spoke to the several sources of energy Wyoming has to offer, stating that we need to be utilizing all of them. “We want to make sure we’re making energy as clean as we can, as fast as we can, as well as we don't raise costs for consumers, which is what I was talking about… affordable, available, reliable energy.”  

“Look at the School of Energy resources we have here. We have carbon capture, utilization, sequestration; we just had that big XPrize competition that was won by UCLA–how to take carbon out of the atmosphere and use it for constructive activities such as concrete.” 

“We’re leading the way in new energy, and specifically, we’re building the next-age nuclear power plant in Kemmerer. I was at the site with Bill Gates a couple of months ago, and he met with everyone. This is good energy. No carbon emissions at all. But the liberals don’t want nuclear. They can’t do the math: we need all of it, and we need to make it as clean as possible, and as fast as possible, without raising costs for the American people.”

The pushback from the Biden Administration for domestic energy production is one of Barrasso’s frustrations, for many reasons. He publicly spoke out about Biden’s plan to lift sanctions on Venezuela and believes Biden’s buying oil from other countries overall is hurting our state and our nation. 

“We have much more respect and protection of the environment here in the United States than all those thugs he wants to deal with. U.S. emissions have dropped dramatically over the last 15 years, meanwhile, it’s going up in other parts of the world, and he seems to be fine with that.” 

Purchasing oil from other countries that have questionable human rights practices, lower environmental stewardship practices, and far higher emissions seems to be fine with the Biden Administration, Barrasso said. But it’s still raising emissions–more so than the United States domestic production would, and raising prices at the pump. 

“In Wyoming and across the country, we have much better environmental standards I can assure you, than Venezuela, than Saudi Arabia, than Russia. We do it in a way that respects the environment. 

“What this administration has done has taken a sledgehammer to all American energy. They’re going after oil, gas, and coal; they’ve stopped oil and gas leasing on public lands. They’ve broken the law repeatedly. Now they want to take more and more of our land–and it’s our public land–out of energy production and that just drives up the cost. It’s not logical; it’s Joe Biden worshipping at the altar of climate extremists. They want to do things laterally, immediately, in spite of the costs, in spite of the consequences. It’s hurting our nation’s economy, and our ability to utilize those energy-related jobs here in Wyoming. We’re talking about thousands and thousands of people losing their jobs.”

The economy, jobs, and even education suffer from a lack of domestic production, and energy demands are increasing at a faster rate than can be compensated for, despite energy initiatives and a movement of cleaner energy overall. 

“They’re shutting down oil, gas, and coal, and not bringing new energy on fast enough to make up for what they’re shutting down. The energy committee that I’m a ranking member of…. Republicans and Democrats alike said ‘We’re worried about blackouts, brownouts. There’s not the reliability of the energy we need.’”

“People want our product. That’s money that goes into the state of Wyoming’s coffers. The Hathaway Scholarship sends our students to college. It’s because we have the energy resources and have used it wisely. So when Biden says he wants to buy it from Venezuela like he said today, or Iran, or anywhere else, that’s hurting our kids here in Wyoming, and it’s hurting our country.”

“We need it all, and we have it all.” 

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