Mead announces launch of energy plan website

2014-07-15T06:15:00Z Mead announces launch of energy plan websiteBy LAURA HANCOCK Casper Star-Tribune The Billings Gazette
July 15, 2014 6:15 am  • 

CASPER, Wyo. — Gov. Matt Mead’s office has launched, which illustrates progress on his energy strategy for Wyoming.

Mead, who is seeking re-election as a Republican, has said the policy balances energy development with conservation. He unveiled the policy in May 2013. The energy website went live Friday and was announced at a news conference Monday afternoon.

“It allows anybody from the public to see what the different agencies are doing regarding the energy strategy, the projects that they are working on, the comments that they have made,” Mead said. “And it also allows individual members of the public to comment on any initiative that we’re working on or any idea that they may have.”

The site describes dozens of initiatives. For instance, under the initiative called “Development: New and Expanded Marketing Opportunities,” viewers can see how the state plans to study domestic and international marketing opportunities and aggressively reach out to them. The website says it’s 47 percent compete with the initiative.

Under the initiative called “Wyoming Conservation/Mitigation Exchange,” readers can learn about how the state is developing a mitigation program to reclaim or maintain key habitat and natural resources. The website states it is 84 percent complete.

Shannon Anderson, an attorney for the landowner group the Powder River Basin Resource Council, noted the website has a list of milestones for each initiative, but the governor’s office needs to better describe which milestones have been completed so the public understands how 50 percent or 10 percent of an initiative is complete.

Renny MacKay, Mead’s spokesman, said the governor’s office will take that and other advice into consideration for improving the website.

Anderson is concerned conservation initiatives are lagging behind in completion.

“We just want to make sure that the plan is balanced and gives the same consideration and public interest (to conservation initiatives) as to the energy promotion initiatives,” she said.

MacKay said when the conservation initiatives are considered in the overall mix with energy development, their completion rates are balanced. Energy and conservation initiatives are organized under four broad themes, including Efficient, Effective Regulation and Education, Innovation, and New Technologies.

Mead, during the news conference, said another state website may need improvement: that for the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. It contains extension information, including drilling documents and state maps. It could be easier to navigate, and the supervisor has been directed to work on it, he said.

“Even more broadly, one of the things we’re beginning to work on, that I’ve talked to agency directors on is just websites statewide,” Mead said. “In my view, they should have some sort of similarity to them so that anybody getting on any Wyoming website will know they’re on a Wyoming website. And also have a pretty good idea of how to navigate through the website so that one isn’t entirely different than the other.”

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