A handful of Republican lawmakers in Wyoming aren’t convinced that the destruction of a key job-producing industry in their state is inevitable. Either way, they’ll be sure to go down fighting on the side of Wyoming’s oil and gas workers.
Whereas other states, such as Oregon, New York, and California, have pledged to phase out combustion engines as a means of combatting the specter of anthropogenic climate change, Republicans in the state Senate and House seek to phase out new electric vehicles sales by 2035.
Republican Sens. Jim Anderson, Brian Boner, Ed Cooper, and Dan Dockstader and Reps. Donald Burkhart and Bill Henderson have sponsored a joint resolution to this effect.
In defense of a full tank of gas and an open road
The bill notes that “oil and gas production has long been one of Wyoming’s proud and valued industries,” which has created “countless jobs and has contributed revenues to the state of Wyoming throughout the state’s history.”
The Daily Mail reported that there are over 68,000 jobs in the state’s oil and gas industry.
Extra to the jobs and revenue generated by oil and gas, the bill stresses that gas-powered vehicles ensure efficiencies throughout the country for a multitude of businesses in various other industries.
Whereas gas-powered cars are durable and already enjoy infrastructure in the state, “Wyoming’s vast stretches of highway, coupled with a lack of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, make the widespread use of electric vehicles impracticable for the state.”
Even if taxpayers’ money was effectively used laying that infrastructure, the lawmakers suggested in their bill that it would still require “massive amounts of new power generation in order to sustain the misadventure of electric vehicles.”
The lawmakers noted that it’s not just the open road and the demands placed on the state by EVs that pose a challenge to the gas-free paradigm championed elsewhere by Democrats. “The batteries used in electric vehicles contain critical minerals whose domestic supply is limited and at risk for disruption,” they wrote.
Over the past year, there has been a supply shortage of the key metal required for EVs that use lithium-ion batteries. Bloomberg recently indicated that it is unclear whether lithium supply will catch up with demand this year, despite bearish forecasts suggesting a balanced market may soon be on the horizon.
In addition to lithium, EVs often require minerals like cobalt and nickel.
The International Energy Agency indicated in its March 2022 report on clean energy transitions that a “typical electric car requires six times the mineral inputs of a conventional car.”
The Verge reported in August that the shift to EVs will overwhelm U.S. mining operations, prompting reliance on foreign sources.
The Wyoming State Geological Survey revealed in 2021 that the state ranked eighth nationally in crude oil production and ninth for natural gas production, producing over 85 million barrels of crude and over 1.37 billion MCF (MCF = one thousand cubic feet) that year.
Besides the alleged positives of Wyomingites sticking with the combustion engine, the bill highlighted at least one problem with the electric alternative that may concern environmentalists: “The critical minerals used in electric batteries are not easily recyclable or disposable, meaning that municipal landfills in Wyoming and elsewhere will be required to develop practices to dispose of these minerals in a safe and responsible manner.”
For these reasons, the Republican lawmakers adopted the language of other anti-gas-car bills, but swapped in EVs as that which they seek to eliminate.
The bill concludes by saying, “Phasing out the sale of new electric vehicles in Wyoming by 2035 will ensure the stability of Wyoming’s oil and gas industry and will help preserve the country’s critical minerals for vital purposes.”
Sen. Anderson told the Cowboy State Daily that by passing this bill, “the Legislature would be saying, ‘If you don’t like our petroleum cars, well, we don’t like your electric cars.'”
Sen. Boner similarly suggested the bill’s passage would serve to send a message; “One might even say tongue-in-cheek.”
Boner added, “I’m interested in making sure that the solutions that some folks want to the so-called climate crisis are actually practical in real life. … I just don’t appreciate when other states try to force technology that isn’t ready.”
California, among the states that has passed a ban on the sale of new cars with combustion engines, may have done so prematurely.
TheBlaze previously reported that the Democrat-run state’s electric grid — already prone to rolling blackouts and rationing — may not be ready to handle the demands of a population increasingly adopting electricity-hungry vehicles.
Senior energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists Mike Jacobs told Yahoo Finance, “The use of an electric vehicle is like adding one or two air conditioners to your residence in terms of its energy increase.”
According to Brouwer, “If we try to move in this direction and only use battery electric vehicles, we will fail. … The grid cannot charge every single transportation application.”
In addition to grid instability, the coerced adoption of EVs has begun to chase jobs out of the United States.
An Illinois Jeep manufacturer announced in December that it was firing thousands of American workers and moving its operations to Mexico, citing, in part, “the increasing cost related to the electrification of the automotive market.”
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