Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon Testifies Before the Senate on Federal Oil & Gas Leasing

April 27, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), welcomed the Honorable Mark Gordon, governor of Wyoming, to the committee. Gordon was testifying before the committee at a hearing to examine energy development on federal lands.

Click here to watch Governor Gordon’s testimony.

Barrasso introduced Gordon to the committee prior to his testimony. “Before we begin with the witnesses, I would like to take a second to introduce Governor Gordon. Mark Gordon has been serving as Wyoming’s governor since January of 2019. He and his wife Jennie, own and operate the Merlin Ranch east of Buffalo. He has served as a member of the boards of: the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust; the Nature Conservancy in Wyoming; and the Wyoming Environmental Quality Council.

“Governor Gordon knows the critical importance of both energy production and environmental protection. That’s why Governor Gordon is leading a lawsuit to combat the Biden administration’s illegal ban on oil and gas lease sales on federal lands. The people of Wyoming were not consulted before President Biden signed his damaging executive order and Secretary Haaland implemented it.

“Now, the Biden administration will hear Wyoming’s arguments both during this hearing and in court. Governor Gordon, it’s a great honor to welcome you back as a witness before the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Thank you for traveling from Wyoming to Washington to be part of this important hearing today,” said Barrasso.

In his written testimony, Gordon stressed the fact that Wyoming can cut carbon emissions while also continuing to use fossil fuels. “I recently announced that Wyoming can achieve negative net zero carbon emissions AND continue to use fossil fuels. In fact, in my State of the State address I called for Wyoming to lead this nation to a net negative standard and I called for us to achieve this goal while fully supporting an all of the above energy approach. If we all work together, Wyoming will continue to supply energy to consumers across the nation using wind, solar, nuclear, hydrogen and fossil fuels, all while reducing carbon emission. Energy distribution must be reliable, robust, and broad to ensure a reliable energy supply to our families and businesses,” wrote Gordon

Gordon detailed the need for energy production on federal lands in Wyoming. “Oil and gas production from Federal land and mineral acreage is vital to our state and national economy. According to data compiled by the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, Wyoming ranks first in natural gas production on public lands and second in oil. Since 2015, leasing revenues generated $474 million total for the State of Wyoming with more than that going to the U.S. Treasury. Total energy related revenues from public lands in Wyoming generated $457 million last fiscal year for Wyoming. That income is our largest source of revenue for schools and other essential government programs. Over the last 8 years, Wyoming averaged $35 million annually from lease sales. How much has Wyoming received from lease revenues this year? Zero, because of the de facto leasing moratorium. This absence of revenue is glaring, especially when we are also reeling from the economic devastation of COVID-19,” stated Gordon.

Gordon also discussed how Wyoming has been disproportionately affected by the administration’s oil and gas leasing moratorium. “Let me state what is obvious: this moratorium on leasing during the review discriminates against the people of Wyoming and every other Western state with Federal minerals. We are all disproportionately affected by the freeze. Oil and gas producing states where activity occurs mainly on private lands are now seeing an increase of interest from oil and gas producers. These jobs and the economic activity that production provides migrate elsewhere. Wyoming sees fewer jobs, the overall economy declines, and less revenue accrues to the state from bonus bids, rentals, and royalties. This revenue funds our schools, health care, public safety, and other essential services,” said Gordon.

Gordon concluded by stating, “I stand ready to work with you as you continue your oversight of the program and contemplate changes. I leave you with my belief that the leasing moratorium is unnecessary and discriminatory to the people of the Western United States.”

For more information on Gordon’s testimony and the hearing, click here.