Wyoming Eyes Ongoing Cuts Amid Prolonged Energy Downturn
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming lawmakers continue to look at spending cuts amid a prolonged downturn in revenue from the energy industry.
Wyoming's latest hit comes from the closure of two huge coal mines in the Powder River Basin in early July. State Budget Director Don Richards tells lawmakers if the mines remain out of production after the bankruptcy of Milton, West Virginia-based Blackjewel LLC, Wyoming will lose $50 million in revenue annually.
Wyoming leads the U.S. in coal production but University of Wyoming economist Robert Godby says Wyoming coal production will decline by at least 25 percent by 2025.
Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Eli Bebout tells the Casper Star-Tribune he wants Wyoming to diversify revenue sources but others disagree. Bebout says that makes spending cuts one of the few options to avoid deficits.