Train cars loaded with coal stretching into the distance with trees on both sides.

Wyoming governor, secretary of state say EPA rules will hurt state's coal industry

© iStock - Satephoto
Chris Woodward

(The Center Square) – Wyoming officials are not happy with the federal government’s latest rules involving coal-fired power plants.

The Environmental Protection Agency's new rules finalized this week will require existing coal-fired plants and new natural gas plants to "control 90 percent of their carbon pollution" and will make mercury emissions standards stricter. The stated purpose from EPA is to help combat climate change, but Governor Mark Gordon isn’t buying.

PROMO 64J1 States - Wyoming Welcome Sign - iStock - Ingo Dorenberg

© iStock - Ingo Dorenberg

“It is clear the only goal envisioned by these rules released by the Environmental Protection Agency today is the end of coal communities in Wyoming,” Gordon said in a press release. “EPA has weaponized the fear of climate change into a crushing set of rules that will result in an unreliable electric grid, unaffordable electricity, and thousands of lost jobs.”

According to the Energy Information Administration, which is part of the Department of Energy, Wyoming accounts for two-fifths of all domestic coal mined. As a result, Gordon feels the Biden administration “has turned its back on the very industries and states that have made our country strong.”

Secretary of State Chuck Gray also condemned the rules, saying they’re “disastrous” for small businesses and Wyoming’s economy overall.

“As a member of the Wyoming House of Representatives, I fought to protect Wyoming coal through legislation aimed at preserving Wyoming’s coal producing facilities,” Gray said in a statement. “As Secretary of State, I feel it is my duty to protect both our core industries and the businesses our office serves, who will face the wrath from these continued attacks on our Wyoming values by these onerous and unlawful federal regulations.”

In addition to combating climate change, the EPA says it can help cut down on premature deaths, avoid hospital visits, and cut down on school absences and workdays because of breathing problems.

"By developing these standards in a clear, transparent, inclusive manner, EPA is cutting pollution while ensuring that power companies can make smart investments and continue to deliver reliable electricity for all Americans," EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said.