A New Wyoming Strategy: Buy Our Coal Or Else We’ll Sue Ya
Sometimes I just have to maintain a very active sense of humor to keep up with Republican governors. The sun is setting on coal as a fuel for electric generation. We all know that. Even the coal industry knows that.
Even Republican Governor Mark Gordon knows that
But in Wyoming, coal contributes over $1 billion annually in revenue to state and local governments. That’s a thousand-million dollars in a state that only has a population of only 580,000. Which prompts some to say that coal is Wyoming’s one shot at survival.
Which reminds me of my late friend, Ray Kennedy
Bear with me. I’m getting older and as I age, everything reminds me of something else. But this is kinda cool.
Every year Ray would pack himself off to Lander, Wyoming for the annual Lander One-Shot Antelope Hunt. As the name implies, hunters had three days and one bullet to bring down an antelope. Largest animal won.
General Jimmy Doolittle, Sam Snead, Chuck Yeager, Roy Rogers and Peter Fonda were all shooters at one time or another. Ray never won, but he never missed a year.
So Wyoming is a one-shot state in more ways than one.
And Wyoming produces 40% of America’s coal
“We have seen a spike in states trying to block Wyoming’s access to consumer markets to advance their political agenda,” said Jeremy Haroldson, a Republican state legislator. “Political agenda” in this case translates as opting to power themselves with clean energy such as solar and wind, in order to meet targets to tackle the climate crisis.
God knows Wyoming has lots of wide open spaces for solar and wind power, but Haroldson knows which side his bread is buttered on and introduced a law.
Hold your breath and try not to giggle:
His new law created a $1.2m fund to finance litigation against those states that refuse to keep on buying Wyoming coal.
If that doesn’t bring a smile to your face, you’ve been in lockdown too long
According to the article, the measure sends a message that Wyoming is “prepared to bring litigation to protect her interests.” Damned if that doesn’t beat all in the fight against climate change. Has anyone let the Paris Accords in on this yet? Or how about Australia? They send most of their coal to China. Why stop with small dealers? International litigation could be next.
Here’s another idea
Forget about all this litigation nonsense.
How much land would it take to power the entire US with solar energy? About 2.8 acres per GWh. Solar would have to produce about 4 million GWh of electricity annually to provide enough energy to power the entire country. At 2.8 acres per GWh, about 11,200,000 acres of land would give us what we need to produce the 4,000,000 GWh of solar power.
The state of Wyoming covers 62.6037 million acres. So, if I haven’t misplaced a decimal point, about 18% of Wyoming could solar power the entire United States and leave over 51 million acres for skiing, trout fishing, Dick Cheney’s ranch and the Landers One-Shot Antelope Hunt.
Now there’s something worth taking one shot at.
Image Credit: Tannen Maury/EPA