Thursday, October 18, 2012

Boom-Bust Is Not For Us

These are the Grand Tetons as viewed from the historic Elk Ranch. I took this picture while visiting them to work on a historic preservation project with The University of Wyoming in 2010.
This is where my soul resides.
My spirit splashes amongst sage and river rock in the Hoback Canyon.

Mitt Romney says that our president has made a mistake, in refusing to allow drilling on federal land. He points at the fact that the private sector growth in drilling has improved under Obama's administration and says, this is not enough - we should drill on federal land too.
70 miles south of where this picture was taken, is Sublette County, Wyoming. They have been heavily drilling there since 2000. In the last ten years, 40% of the local mule deer have died. A continental winter migration route for antelope and other animals was interrupted by drilling, causing a disruption to the Yellowstone ecosystem. The air quality in that region, with less than 5,000 residents, is worse than that of LA.
For the moment, the residents of Sublette County have jobs, but when the natural gas is gone, so are the jobs. Before drilling came, the residents of Sublette County also had jobs, they worked as guides to the hunting grounds around them, they catered to a strong tourist industry. They were among the most well off in the nation, with the least crime and a pristine environment. Now, they battle with the methamphetamine brought to the area by roughnecks. When the oil boom leaves, they'll not have the pristine wilderness to fall back on anymore. I worry what will happen then. As a Wyoming citizen, I have seen that the history of boom-bust economy that comes with depending on natural resource extraction is dangerous. It does not last. It is not a solution.
Is our president wrong to protect our most precious resources, and our most valuable public lands? Is he wrong for wanting to invest is something better than a boom-bust economy? Is he wrong to want the very best for us? I think not.
Does no one else see the irony in a man who demands that the US gov't stop subsidizing Big Bird and start subsidizing big oil drills on federal lands? He says it is shameful, that PBS can't stand on it's own, without federal support. He calls that socialism. Then, he demands that we allot more resources from our national reserve, to the private oil industry, and calls it capitalism.
In this I see someone who will say anything to make a profit. He will mislead us all, to gain power. I see a guy who says, "I love Big Bird" and then threatens his very existence and I remember, he also says that he loves us.

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1 comment:

Skilletranch said...

My great grandfather homesteaded that ranch. Some of the buildings are still left. My great grandmother never forgave him for selling it. She loved that place. Si Ferrin was once known as the cattle baron of Wyoming as he and Grandma Ferrin ran thousands of cattle there. They were salt of the earth and though LDS, I believe they would be disappointed in what is going on today. They were straight shooters. No lies from them. And Grandma Ferrin loved her little "toddy" at night.