An energy policy also will give developers a clearer picture of the process, Reese said.

"I think you'll have better tools that will help you make a better informed decision, so that you're not impacting whatever cultural resource or wildlife, in that you have other options available for development to happen, so that we're preserving things that Wyoming holds dear, tools that you may not have right now," he said.

Bruce Hinchey, president of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, said he's glad to see Mead developing the policy.

"I would like to see the federal government come up with a policy, but for whatever reason, they've failed to do so," Hinchey said.

Marion Loomis, executive director of the Wyoming Mining Association, also believes it's important for the federal government to develop an energy policy.

"It's fine to promote renewables and new technologies, but you have to recognize how much energy we use in this nation," he said. "If you try to replace half of the coal burned with something new, what are you going to get that can generate 1 trillion kilowatt hours on a reliable, affordable basis? There just isn't anything out there."

Richard Garrett with the Wyoming Outdoor Council said his group has been making the case that a state energy policy ought to recognize that some areas are too important for wildlife or scenic value to be appropriate for energy development.

"I'm not sure we're going to be successful at that, but that's one of our goals," Garrett said.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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