US State of Wyoming to Ban Electric Vehicles by 2035; Legislation Explained

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The US state of Wyoming could become the first state in the country, or for that matter the first territory in the world, to formally ban electric vehicles. State legislators are mooting a bill that would seek the ban on the sale of new electric vehicles by 2035.

The backers of the bill say the goal is to ensure the stability of the oil industry, which forms the industrial backbone of the state. The incoming resolution is titled 'Phasing Out New Electric Vehicle Sales By 2035.'

OIl Pipeline
US oil pipeline - Representational Wikimedia Commons

The move comes even as a host of US states led by California and New York have passed laws that ban the sale of fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2035.

Proud and Valued Industry

According to the proponents of the bill, oil and gas production has long been one of Wyoming's 'proud and valued industries' and there is a need to preserve this industry. The oil industry has created 'countless jobs' and contributed immense revenues to the state.

The bill also says that the critical minerals used in electric batteries are not easily recyclable or disposable. The legislation was proposed by a group of Republican lawmakers led by state Senator Jim Anderson. "The Legislature would be saying, 'If you don't like our petroleum cars, well, we don't like your electric cars,'" said Anderson, according to Cowboy State Daily.

However, the bill's supporters also say that the legislation will largely be symbolic in nature. Even if it's passed it will not be binding they say.

"I'm interested in making sure that the solutions that some folks want to the so-called climate crisis are actually practical in real life ...I just don't appreciate when other states try to force technology that isn't ready," said GOP co-sponsor Sen. Brian Boner said, according to the daily.

"One might even say tongue-in-cheek .... But obviously it's a very serious issue that deserves some public discussion," he added.

68,000 Jobs

According to the Daily Mail, there are about 100 companies that are engaged in the oil and gas sector in the state. These companies operate a combined 30,000 miles of pipelines in Wyoming and give jobs to as many as 68,000 people.

"The US has consistently invested in the oil and gas industry to sustain gas-powered vehicles and that investment has resulted in the continued employment of thousands of people in the oil and gas industry in Wyoming and throughout the country," the bill says.

"On the other hand, the shift to electric vehicles would 'have deleterious impacts on Wyoming's communities and will be detrimental to Wyoming's economy and the ability for the country to efficiently engage in commerce," it adds.