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By SEAN MORTIMER
Staff Reporter 

Electric vehicle resolution response to California

 

January 19, 2023



TEN SLEEP - Senator Ed Cooper of Ten Sleep said that he thinks the General Session of the State of Wyoming 67th Legislature is off to a great start.

The session opened with Governor Mark Gordon delivering the State of the State Address on Wednesday, in which he discussed current issues facing the state of Wyoming and showed optimism for the state’s future. Cooper said, “I thought the State of the State was very well done. It was positive, it addressed Wyoming’s energy future, and I think overall it was an expression of where the state is going in a very positive manner.”

The address mentioned many current issues related to energy, one of the primary industries of Wyoming and something Cooper works closely with as a member of the Minerals, Business & Economic Development Committee. Governor Gordon mentioned how one in four homes in the United States is powered by energy produced from Wyoming coal, and made arguments for the Biden Administration to recognize the importance of fossil fuels in Wyoming industry.

Having opened on Jan. 10 of this year, the General Session had only gone on for four days at the time of the first weekly interview with Cooper; but he said that much work had already been done in that time. “On the Senate side, we’ve already had several bills reach third reading, and we have several more that will go to third reading on Monday (Jan. 16) and those will hopefully all go across to the House, so we’ve got a lot of work done on our side in the last four days.”

When asked what he and his constituents at the session had been receiving calls on, Cooper said “We’re getting a lot of calls on the court reporters bill that is coming up through judiciary. It’s an important bill, I think it’s gonna deserve a lot of attention and get a lot of discussion.”

This is in reference to Senate File 108, which would change the way court reporter fees are set. This legislation was introduced on Jan. 16 and referred to the Judiciary Committee.

Senator Cooper is sponsoring Senate File 87, which would change the threshold for designation between small or large projects for the Natural Resource Funding Project. The current cap for “small projects” is $200,000, under which amount they do not need legislative approval to proceed. This legislation would raise the cap for discretionary spending on small projects to $400,000.

Cooper said that due to cost increases, $200,000 didn’t go as far as it used to in projects for this program, and the brackets that designate projects needed to shift to reflect that. He also said that Senate File 87 was packaged with Senate File 106 which lists and prioritizes large projects approved for funding under the Natural Resource Funding Act. Cooper said that an increase in costs is “why there are so many projects on that bill this year, because inflation has driven the price of those smaller projects up.”

Cooper pointed out Senate Joint Resolution 4 as a main point of contention that has surfaced thus far during the General Session. This resolution states that Wyoming intends to phase out new electric vehicle sales by the year 2035.

Cooper called this “kind of a tongue-in-cheek resolution.” He continued, “It would in theory get rid of all new electric vehicles in Wyoming by the year 2035. That was written by another senator in response to California’s ban on gasoline vehicles. In my opinion and in the opinion of several others, that ban is an assault on Wyoming and our revenue stream.”

The resolution itself, Cooper claimed, is to be taken with a grain of salt, as the intention with it was not to become written law but rather to send a message. This message is in response to the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, who had recently supported a resolution that would eliminate the sale of vehicles powered by fossil fuels in the state of California by 2035.

Cooper said that critics may call Wyoming’s resolution unrealistic or removed from reality the same can be said about California’s resolution, in the opinion of Cooper and many of his constituents.

In summary, Cooper said “It’s simply a statement to the governor of California that if you’re gonna take shots at Wyoming we’re gonna take shots back.”

 
 

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