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October 16, 2008 3:14 am

Wyoming needs to improve its energy-efficiency policies

Written by Tribune Staff

Energy is a popular topic right now. As the stock market remains volatile and political candidates race toward Election Day, energy costs and issues top America's agenda.

Wyoming, one of the nation's major energy-producing states, needs to re-evaluate its energy policies.

This week, the Associated Press reported that Wyoming ranked the lowest in the United States for energy-efficient policies. The Cowboy State was the only one to earn a “0” in every single category in the scorecard issued by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

The report graded states on energy-efficiency policy initiatives including: building energy codes, energy efficiency in public buildings and financial incentives for efficient technologies, such as tax credits for residents who buy hybrid vehicles.

However, the governor's office said Wyoming's low score isn't an accurate reflection of the state's energy policies.

According to the Associated Press, 10 percent of electricity generated in the state comes from renewable sources. The state also has updated its motor pool with several hybrid vehicles.

Also, buildings in the state have garnered high ratings in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Powell's own Plaza Diane — Community Center for the Arts may receive LEED platinum certification, the highest possible.

Even with these efforts, the failing score on the report indicates Wyoming certainly could improve its energy policies.

As drilling projects occur in our backyards, it's vital that Wyoming strives to set better energy-efficiency standards.