Energy

Renewable Energy Put On Blast During Gubernatorial Debate

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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The renewable energy industry was not treated with kid gloves Thursday during a Wyoming GOP gubernatorial debate.

Republican candidates vying to become the next governor of Wyoming met for an extensive debate on Thursday night. The six contenders were divided into two groups — according to recent polling — with the top three getting to debate first and the second group of three debating immediately after. Numerous topics of importance were discussed during the two hour-long debates.

A looming subjecting that greatly affects the coal-heavy state of Wyoming is regulation of the energy.

Producing around 40 percent of the entire nation’s coal and one of the top 10 natural gas-producing states, the fossil fuel industry still reigns supreme in the Cowboy State. While some renewables, such as wind energy, have made inroads in Wyoming, residents largely dependent on the export of coal and natural are skeptical of the renewable mandates that are increasingly being pushed by lawmakers.

Attorney Harriet Hageman went on the attack against renewables during Thursday’s debate.

“Sam’s company took $3.75 million dollars of Wyoming taxpayer money — money that came from the development of fossil fuels — to fund a company that touts its green bona fides,” Hageman said of Sam Galeotos, the executive chairman of Green House Data Corp., as he stood just a few feet away. “I guess one thing that could be said about Mr. Galeotos is that he says one thing when he’s in Gillette but he does it differently when he’s in Cheyenne,” Hageman stated, making a reference to the city of Gillette as the epicenter of the country’s biggest coal-producing region.

Hageman didn’t let up in her closing statements, calling Galeotos’ company “ideologically obsessed with so-called green energy,” anti-coal and anti-ranching.

Galeotos called the narrative a “severe lack of understanding” of how the private sector works. The businessman went on to name numerous big-name companies that also purchase renewable energy, including President Donald Trump’s hotel, and said this was something corporate America wants.

The exchange highlighted how green technology is viewed differently than in other elections across the country, where many candidates are campaigning for higher renewable energy mandates and regard the fossil fuel sector with contempt. Wyoming’s huge production of energy — while at the same time being a sparsely populated state — means its generated electricity is a major exporting product. (RELATED: DC Council Likely To Pass Most Stringent Renewable Energy Mandate In The Country)

Wyoming’s Republican gubernatorial candidates were divided based on a recent poll by the University of Wyoming. State Treasurer Mark Gordon leads the pack with 19 percent, Galeotos placed second with 14 percent and Hageman rounded out the top three with 11 percent. The second group of lower-polling candidates were billionaire Foster Friess, physician Taylor Haynes and Bill Dahlin.

The Republican gubernatorial primary will take place on Aug. 21. Wyoming GOP Gov. Matt Mead will be vacating his seat at the end of the year.

Editor’s note: Friess is a supporter of The Daily Caller News Foundation.

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