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Gov. Gordon highlights commitment to indigenous peoples, clean energy in message to legislature

(Dan Cepeda, Oil City News)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Gov. Mark Gordon highlighted the need for Wyoming to support its indigenous peoples and to uphold its commitment to clean energy and state irrigation systems during his message to the Legislature today.

Support for Indigenous People

The governor stressed the importance of recognizing tribal sovereignty in Wyoming. He announced support for a bill that would provide the Governor’s Office with the authority to enter into agreement with tribes to resolve hunting right claims outside of the Wind River Reservation.

“Finding an agreement on this issue will support shared hunting values better than any court decision will,” Gordon said.

Clean Energy

He reminded lawmakers that coal is a vital fuel source for Wyoming, and emphasized the importance of using carbon capture technology to combat fossil fuel emissions and uphold the state’s commitment to clean energy.

Later this year, construction will begin on two new carbon capture projects at the Wyoming Integrated Tech Center at Basin Electric in Gillette, Gordon said.

He announced that the state’s Hydrogen Hub proposal with Colorado, New Mexico and Utah has made its first steps toward being able to create infrastructures accelerating the use of hydrogen as a clean energy carrier.

Gordon also shared with lawmakers that he requested an additional $50 million from the federal government for the Governor’s Matching Energy Fund, which would provide funding to energy projects including carbon capture utilization and storage, coal refining, renewable energy generation and

“The fund isn’t large enough to make any particular project a reality, but it’s important to demonstrate deep commitment to our resources and our citizens,” Gordon said. “Wyoming is becoming recognized for forward thinking on climate, the environment and the energy.” 

Water Protection

The governor mentioned how managing irrigation systems in the state is getting more challenging and urged lawmakers to support the State Appropriation budget proposals for irrigation engineers.

“It’s undeniable that Wyoming’s irrigators, municipalities and industries are at risk of losing some of the authority they have over their future,” Gordon said. “It’s essential we protect our water.”

Budget Updates

Lastly, Gordon mentioned that priorities for this year’s budget include supporting the agriculture industry and state workforce.

This year, lawmakers will see requests to control invasive species, address brucellosis and expand predator control water storage and meat processing.

Gordon also encouraged them to adequately fund the Wyoming Business Council’s supplemental budget that will support salary adjustments for workers.

“We can’t recruit or retain [workers] unless we pay them a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work,” Gordon said.

The full speech can be viewed here and in the video below: