It didn’t take long for President Joe Biden to endanger Wyoming’s already fragile economy and exacerbate the state’s budget woes.
Within his first week as president, Biden shut down the Keystone Pipeline project and signed executive orders issuing a moratorium on new oil and gas leasing and permitting on federal lands for one year and a moratorium on new coal leasing and permitting on federal lands for three years.
Biden’s actions will cost energy-producing states like Wyoming revenue for education, infrastructure and healthcare resources in addition to killing good paying jobs.
Wyoming State Superintendent Jillian Balow says the ban will defund education in the state. Wyoming K-12 schools receive about $150 million a year in oil and gas federal mineral royalties.
In addition to the loss to education, a Dec. 14, 2020, study by Timothy Considine, Ph.D., Professor of Energy Economics at the University of Wyoming, predicts an oil and gas moratorium could cost up to $2 billion in tax revenue loss over four years in addition to costing the state 18,000 jobs and billions in wages.
And it isn’t just Wyoming and Montana that are going to suffer. The Permian Basin in New Mexico provides $1 billion a year to fund public education.
Offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico provides Louisiana millions upon millions of dollars for hurricane protection. Those are just a few of the states going to take a hit.
The downside: Energy costs will rise, good jobs will be lost and the U.S. will once again become dependent on foreign oil.
The upside: There is none, except for countries like Russia, Venezuela and Iran that will benefit.
As the Wyoming Legislature struggles to meet the demands of the state, including K-12 education, legislators unfortunately are going to have to find new sources of income.