- First things first: this is just a proposed bill, and even if it’s adopted, it would not be an actual ban on electric-vehicle sales in Wyoming.
- Instead, this is a political messaging bill, one that spreads love to the oil and gas industry and says EVs just don’t work in the state.
- We agree that different regions of the country are positioned in different ways when it comes to EV adoption, but we see through the legislators’ intent with this bill because they added a line that says that, should the bill be adopted, a copy will be sent to the governor of California. Why might that be?
Republican legislators in Wyoming have decided it’s time to bring the debate over electric-vehicle sales in the state squarely into the political arena. Four state senators and two state representatives have introduced a bill proposal (SJ0004) that expresses support “for phasing out the sale of new electric vehicles in Wyoming by 2035.”
It’s a simple little bill, one that presents wildly unbalanced views of the benefits and costs of EVs and wouldn’t, in the end, actually ban EV sales. Not yet, anyway. If adopted, the bill would simply do two things. First, it would force the legislature to shoot for the goal “that the sale of new electric vehicles in the state of Wyoming be phased out by 2035.” The bill would also “[encourage] Wyoming’s industries and citizens to limit the sale and purchase of new electric vehicles in Wyoming.” So, no actual laws, just encouragements.
“The Legislature would be saying, ‘If you don’t like our petroleum cars, well, we don’t like your electric cars,'” the resolution’s sponsor, Republican State Sen. Jim Anderson, told local media outlet the Cowboy State Daily. The publication reported late last year that Wyoming stands to get $24 million from the federal government to install EV charging stations in the state.
If that all sounds like this might be a bit of a political stunt and not exactly a legitimate effort to improve the lives of everyday citizens, you’re on to something. The proposed bill’s “whereas” section is full of flowery love for the oil and gas industry, saying that extraction of these resources “has long been one of Wyoming’s proud and valued industries.” It also talks about how “the oil and gas industry in Wyoming has created countless jobs and has contributed revenues to the state of Wyoming throughout the state’s history.” But the state’s official assessment of the bill says it would have absolutely “no fiscal or personnel impact.”
CC: State of California
If that’s not clear enough for you, there is a third recommendation that would take effect if the bill becomes law. Under this section, the Secretary of State of Wyoming would be required to send copies of the resolution to President Biden and top federal officials, other Wyoming representatives in Washington, D.C., and, get this, the governor of California.
That last line is important and, if you haven’t been paying attention, odd. Why would the governor of California care what Wyoming does with EV sales? He wouldn’t, but the bill’s Republican sponsors apparently want to score political points by bringing California into it. Last year, California announced it would ban the sale of gasoline-powered cars in the state by 2035, an actual rule that is already affecting laws in other states and the auto industry’s long-term planning. This Wyoming bill of encouragement? Not so much.
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