World War One era poster, from when coal heated most homes.
Lex Anteinternet: Lex Anteinternet: What's with all those dire warn...: I was out of town this past week, so came home to a collection of newspapers. One of them related that Wyoming had lost 3,000+ oilfield jo...Following that, there was an article in the Tribune about how the residents of the coal producing town of Gillette have continued to try to publicly back coal, against the trend of its decline. The same day the Chinese came out with an announcement about a plan to combat climate change.
In this morning's paper I read that Alpha, a major coal company, has gone into receivership. The bigger news, however (although that took top billing in the Star Tribune) is that President Obama released his plan for combating climate change which includes a significant drop in the use of coal in Wyoming, and the U.S., for power generation and a reduction of the use of fossil fuels in general.
The reaction by Wyoming's political leaders was predictable, if perhaps actually somewhat muted in some quarters. Governor Mead issued the following statement:
That comment was brief, briefer than we might have expected. That raises the suspicion that Mead felt obligated to reply, but didn't want to put too much effort into it. Or perhaps he just issued a brief reply as the Clean Power Plan had just come out and there wasn't time for anything larger. Maybe both.
The Clean Power Plan is scientifically flawed and if implemented will not achieve minimum reductions. It is in fact damaging – not just to Wyoming, but the nation. I will continue to fight regulations that are fundamentally bad for Wyoming and exceed the regulatory authority of the federal government.
I'm sure in the coming months there will be much local opposition to the President's plan, and there's absolutely no certainty that it will go into effect, but at some point, on something like this, I have to wonder if the course of events isn't fairly clear. Coal has been in decline in regards to the type of use made of it for quite some time. It hasn't been "King Coal" forever. Weening the country, and the world, from most coal use would be a lot easier than weening it from petroleum oil.
When I was a geology student, coal was my focus. Focusing on it today, no matter what we might say here in Wyoming, I think it's future is dim. Not immediately, but not distantly either. And as for petroleum and the local economy, with sanctions getting set to be removed from Iran, there's reason not to be too short term optimistic there either.