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Wyoming Economist: Coal Industry May Never Come Back


A Cheyenne-based economist says the state’s coal industry may never completely come back.

Sven Larson says we shouldn’t expect too much from the oil industry anytime soon either.

Larson, who is a private economist and consultant based in Cheyenne, says it would be a mistake for state officials to expect the coal industry to ever be a backbone for the state economy.

He says that while it is true the Obama administration has waged a “war on coal,” that isn’t the main reason why the coal industry is in decline. He says of the struggles of the coal industry “Obama is not nearly responsible for all of that, not by a long shot.”

Larson, in fact, says coal “has been on the way out for quite some time.”

Larson also says the state’s oil industry isn’t likely to show much growth from where it is right now. He notes the price of crude oil has mostly been around $50 to $55 a barrel recently and says that probably won’t increase much.

He says, if anything, the price of oil is likely to go down a little bit when president-elect Trump assumes office because the incoming administration will likely take steps to encourage oil production, which in turn may depress prices.

Larson says the other problem for the state’s energy industries right now is the fact that the global economy isn’t doing very well, and foreign markets are a key target for Wyoming energy products.

Larson says the bottom line is that Wyoming needs to diversify its economy and can’t expect the energy industry to ever be as important as it has been in the past.


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