The state of Wyoming is urging its out-of-work energy employees to fill open employment positions at the state’s Department of Corrections.
Republican Gov. Matt Mead told the Associated Press Wednesday that Wyoming has been hemorrhaging energy jobs since January — more than 2,400 energy employees have lost their jobs during that period of time.
Mead believes that at least a handful of the workers could be subsumed into the corrections department, which has more than 160 vacant job positions.
The governor also noted that the Wyoming Department of Transportation, among other state agencies, is also accepting applications.
Wyoming’s coal industry has been hammered in the last several years — most of the pain coming from the coal industry’s downturn. Many people in the state, including Mead, have heaped loads of blame on President Barack Obama and his so-called Clean Power Plan, among other overarching regulations.
“This administration is in a full-scale war with coal communities and families,” Wyoming Republican Sen. [crscore]John Barrasso[/crscore] said in a statement in February. “A moratorium on federal coal leasing effectively hands a pink slip to the thousands of people in Wyoming and across the West employed in coal production.”
Coal mines in the Thunder Basin National Grassland, among other regions, have played a vital role in U.S. energy over the past several decades, contributing to 40 percent of the country’s fuel supply. They also added about 7,000 mining industry jobs and helped get families through lean years, Michael Von Flatern, a Republican state senator in Wyoming, told the AP.
“I cannot picture myself in Gillette without a coal mine,” Von Flatern told AP. “That’s a big part of it, the steadiness of it.”
Gillette, a small Wyoming town beleaguered by coal’s demise, is one of the cities setting up resource centers for energy workers who have lost their jobs.
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