Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Murray addressed the New Mexico Energy Summit in Carlsbad on Monday.  He spoke of the energy industry’s continuing importance to economic development across the state, and forecast Wyoming to maintain its position as a leading energy producer in the western United States.

Secretary Murray highlighted the importance of making Wyoming’s rich resources work for the state’s residents.  “The conversation must be: How do we take this money from the resources we pull from the ground and invest in our communities, our infrastructure, and our schools?  We need infrastructure improvements, not just maintenance,” said Murray.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration ranks Wyoming second in the nation in total energy production.  Wyoming leads the U.S. in coal production, and produces more than three times the output of West Virginia, which is the country's second-largest coal producer.

On Monday, Secretary Murray predicted a future for Wyoming and New Mexico as “the energy states of the West.”  He went on to say that “several competitive firms are already operating both in New Mexico and Wyoming to extract oil and natural gas from hard to reach places in innovative ways.”

While some anticipate a decline in production, Murray emphasized that the key at the height of this energy boom is to find ways to keep the industry growing.

“State leaders in Wyoming and across the West have to be ready to make tough choices and commit to a unified vision on our infrastructure challenges. If we do this then we will see a return on investment for these stressed communities that is substantial and also allows for the growth of the energy industry,” said Secretary Murray.