Wyoming Shouldn’t Run Away From Its Riches

Published January 10, 2015

My very first job as an engineering student was as a surveyor in Powell, Wyoming. What a great start for a young, impressionable youth, to be surrounded by men and women with a frontier spirit devoid of politics and overflowing with straight talk. Now, with more than a half-century of experience in the energy field, I find it painful to see some of these people being cowed by the radical green philosophy and told to run from the riches bestowed on their land in the form of coal.

In a Jan. 3 article in the Casper Star-Tribune titled “Wyoming must address climate change,” author Edith Cook argued her fellow citizens must prepare for an end to the use of coal in order to halt global warming. This nation, however, will not stop using coal unless we continue to allow the current presidential administration to claim falsely that coal power is largely responsible for changing our climate for the worse. This, however, is an impossibility, because carbon dioxide emitted from coal-fired power plants cannot be warming the planet since Earth has not warmed in 18 years while carbon dioxide levels have continued to increase.

Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, as many untrained in science claim. On the contrary, it is the reason we can inhabit our planet. Without CO2, there could be no vegetation, and thus no animal or human life.

Cook bemoaned the ability of former state Rep. Matt Teeters (R-Goshen County) to block a bill calling for teaching man-made global warming as science in Wyoming schools. He should be applauded for this. Man-caused global warming is not even a credible theory. It stands on no scientific evidence; only mathematical models developed by well-financed academicians who select a handful of data out of thousands of variables controlling our climate and tweak them to say what they wish. None of these models has even been able to “predict” the stable global temperature of the past 18 years.

Wyoming’s coal is among the cleanest in the world, producing the least emissions. It is the source of the cheapest energy on Earth, which is what helps bring the developing world out of poverty, providing warmth, light, and sanitary cooking where today there is none. If we can put a man on the moon, it’s silly to think we can’t burn coal with minimal impact on the environment.

A recent article by Paul Driessen (August 17, 2014) noted President Barack Obama’s war on hydrocarbons is a war on coal-country families. For the 21 states that still rely on coal to produce 40 to 96 percent of their electricity, it is also a war on people’s livelihoods and living standards—indeed on the very survival of small businesses and entire communities.

Anti-coal activists are now trying to pull the wool over the public’s eyes by talking about “carbon pollution”—evoking images of soot in the air—when in fact no process can separate carbon from oxygen in the atmosphere; only plants can do that through photosynthesis. In fact, since 1970, U.S. coal-fired power plants have decreased harmful emissions by 90 percent while electric generation from coal increased 170 percent.

To think any reduction in coal use in Wyoming would have any impact at all on Earth’s atmosphere is comical when 1,200 new coal-fired power plants are under construction in China, Germany, India, and Poland alone. Those countries use coal to spur economic growth and lift people out of poverty; the U.S. under the Obama administration does everything it can to stop the use of coal, no matter what the cost.

The president’s war on coal came to a head with the issuance of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan, which Lawrence Tribe, renowned professor of constitutional law at Harvard University—and a mentor to Obama—explicitly called unconstitutional in an article in The Wall Street Journal on Dec. 23, 2014.

The great people of Wyoming should not be duped by falsehoods purveyed by the anti-progress, green-dominated activists who want them to run away from the wonderful gift that nature has bestowed on this great state.

Obama’s effort to end coal energy in our nation is an egregious ploy to make him a messiah to environmental radicals. It sits on a crumbling foundation of falsehoods: that CO2 is warming the planet, CO2 is a pollutant, and cheap energy offers the United States an unfair advantage over the rest of the world. This is a case of presidential overreach that the citizens of Wyoming should resist at every turn.