PESA’s Government Affairs Committee led by Todd Ennenga, Halliburton, hosted Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), currently a candidate for U.S. Senate in Wyoming, during a Government Affairs Townhall. Lummis, who served as Wyoming’s at-large representative for eight years, discussed the state of oil and gas in Wyoming, and her priorities heading into the November election.
Lummis said that in her mind, top issues facing the energy industry include taxes and regulatory issues. She asked to hear directly from PESA Members on these subjects, as well as other industry priorities. Lummis said several Senate committees work on these issues, including Energy and Natural Resources, Environment and Public Works, and the Commerce and Foreign Relations committees. She said these are key targets for her campaign and will be legislative priorities if she wins in November.
PESA Board Member and Policy Committee Chair Matt Armstrong, Baker Hughes, said Wyoming is poised to a be a leader in energy transition in the coming years as it works with the Department of Energy and attracts investments around hydrogen and carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS). Armstrong urged Lummis to consider joining the Senate Banking Committee, as issues like international trade and sanctions are important to the industry.
Lummis agreed that energy transition would be important to Wyoming’s future, and described one project where Wyoming’s Integrated Test Center studies the capture, sequestration and management of carbon emissions from a coal fired power plant. She said that increased regulation could be dire for the state’s energy-based economy, and that her focus is on ensuring Wyoming can continue to produce oil, gas and coal in ways that reduce carbon emissions.
PESA Government Affairs Committee Member Shaun Gee, Milestone Environmental Services, asked about the relationship between energy production on public lands and improving the regulatory framework. He also asked for her suggestions on how “energy states” such as Texas, New Mexico and Wyoming could work together strategically to deliver a unified message.
Lummis suggested that the industry work within forums such as the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC).
Tim Tarpley, Vice President Government Affairs, PESA, asked Lummis how the industry respond to potential limits on fracking, as well as the possibility of increased regulation should Vice President Joe Biden win the presidency.
Lummis said it’s important to have input on cabinet appointments, particularly secretaries of Interior and Energy departments. She said the industry should also use organizations such as PESA to educate policymakers and the public on the importance of oil and gas.
Tarpley asked Lummis about President Trump’s recent moratorium on oil and gas production in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and her opinion on a limited liability shield. She said she hopes to work with the Florida delegation to find a compromise on drilling in the Gulf, and she thinks following recommended testing protocols should be adequate to limit an employer’s liability.
Lummis also said she is “all ears” about legislation to fund plugging orphan wells in Wyoming.
If you are interested in joining the Government Affairs Committee, please reach out to Vice President Government Affairs Tim Tarpley.