News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
AML dollars going to projects with minerals and energy ties
Oct 5, 2012 - Chad Baldwin, Laramie
Your story in Thursday's paper -- "Bebout: AML loss might be forever" -- correctly notes that the University of Wyoming has benefitted significantly from federal Abandoned Mine Lands money, as a result of the support of Gov. Matt Mead, Sen. Eli Bebout and many other legislators.
However, state capital gains, UW bonding and private donations are supporting the renovation and expansion of the Performing Arts Building, not federal AML dollars.
The Legislature did appropriate AML money for renovation of the UW Arena-Auditorium, but Gov. Mead used legislative authority to swap these funds with state general fund money.
The university greatly appreciates the governor's and the Legislature's use of AML revenues to support new buildings and programs at UW. It's important to note that the money has all gone to projects that have a connection with the minerals and energy industries. Those include development of the School of Energy Resources; funding clean-coal and energy-conversion research; and building UW's new Energy Innovation Center (nearing completion) and Michael B. Enzi Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Undergraduate Laboratory (groundbreaking in the spring).
The congressional resolution that would cap Wyoming's AML funding at $15 million a year would indeed be a major loss for the state and the university. We applaud the efforts of our congressional delegation, the governor, Sen. Bebout and others to restore Wyoming's proper share of AML dollars.