A group of Republican Wyoming lawmakers wants to ban the sale of electric vehicles in the Cowboy State by 2035, claiming that the move will help protect the oil and gas industries.
The bill, which was introduced into the state legislature on Friday, claims that electric vehicles will make Wyoming’s ability to trade with other states more difficult.
“Wyoming’s vast stretches of highway, combined with a lack of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, make widespread use of electric vehicles impracticable for the state,” according to the bill, sponsored by Senator Jim Anderson and co-sponsored by five other Republican legislators.
The legislation cites several reasons for this.
Batteries used in electric vehicles may contain critical minerals with “limited domestic supply and risk of disruption.”
Because the minerals used in electric batteries are not easily recyclable or disposable, the state’s municipal landfills may be required to develop practises for disposing of these minerals in a safe and responsible manner.
The bill also notes that the oil industry employs thousands of people in the state: “The proliferation of electric vehicles at the expense of gas-powered vehicles will have deleterious effects on Wyoming’s communities and will be detrimental to Wyoming’s economy and the country’s ability to engage in commerce efficiently.”
Wyoming’s electric vehicle sales would be phased out under the bill.
The language of the bill was clear, but Anderson told the Washington Post on Monday that he does not want electric vehicle sales to be phased out.
“I have no objections to electric vehicles,” Anderson told the Washington Post.
“Anyone who wants to buy an electric vehicle should be able to,” he said, adding that his friends and family have them.
By 2035, more states will require electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Meanwhile, leaders in more than a dozen other states with vehicle emission standards tied to California’s rules face difficult decisions on whether to follow the Golden State’s strictest-in-the-nation new rules, which require all new cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs to be electric or hydrogen powered by 2035.
The Clean Air Act requires states to follow the federal government’s standard vehicle emissions standards unless they choose to follow California’s stricter requirements in part.
Washington, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Vermont are expected to follow California’s lead and prohibit the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles.
Colorado and Pennsylvania are among the states that have indicated they will not follow California’s lead.
In Minnesota, where the state’s “Clean Cars” rule has been a political minefield and the subject of a legal battle, the legal ground is a little murkier.
Republicans in Virginia have rejected rules passed when Democrats controlled the state that would have put Virginia on track to follow California’s model.