There are very few things that I will get up at 5:00 a.m. to do – catch a flight, catch a fish – that's about it.

This morning, however, I left Denver at about 5:30 a.m. to arrive in Laramie in time to be a guest lecturer for the University of Wyoming's Agricultural Law class, taught by Justina Floy, Staff Attorney for the Second Judicial District Court.

I previously discussed my last adventure as a guest lecturer in the post, " The Future Looks Bright," because I was so blown away by the enthusiasm of the students and how highly engaged they were.

This morning's guest lecture was no different – I pulled into Laramie just as the sun was coming up and excitement was in the air. I was surprised to see that students were already at my favorite local coffee shop to get a little caffeine jolt before class.

The students in Ag Law class again asked thoughtful questions and were curious and insightful. It was interesting to see what topics were on their minds...questions such as:

  • How will the upcoming political changes impact Wyoming's energy industry
  • Will there be a drastic shift away from coal
  • Are oil companies willing to work through problems with surface owners
  • What happens to access roads after the oil companies no longer need to access their wells

A couple of other very thoughtful questions caught me off guard for an 8:00 a.m. class the morning after Halloween; a day when I remember people skipping their early morning classes and going to get breakfast instead, sometimes still wearing a toga.

In my opinion, the most thoughtful question was:

What industries would I suggest that Wyoming look to in order to diversify its economy so that it is not so heavily reliant on revenue from commodities that are subject to boom and bust cycles.

This question has no easy answer – we discussed other revenue sources for the state like tourism, Sheridan's new coal mine, renewable energy sources and Governor Mead's "doubling down" on coal. As discussed in an article from earlier this spring, the full text of which can be found here, Gov. Mead's revised energy plan includes 11 new initiatives and "includes a 'carbon innovation' effort that is intended to further the development of clean-coal technologies and other ways to reduce carbon emissions for conventional fossil fuels."

The truth is that Wyoming's youth carry the solution to finding out how to diversify the revenue sources.  They are innovative and bringing their A-game.  Seeing that young and engaged students are thinking about Wyoming's future energy strategy brightened my day. As I have said before, the future is certainly bright.

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