“For too many decades, we have dreamed of a day when the government of these United States would transfer the ownership of its lands to state or private hands. While this dream may occupy our hearts, it cannot be the basis for public policy ... Our intellect and experience force the recognition of the federal government as a landowner and neighbor with which we must learn to live ...
“Wyoming has a history of expecting the commodity industries
to produce an ever-increasing bounty of public and private wealth,
plus employment. ... Coal production was 95 million tons in 1980
compared to nearly 340 million tons in 2000. Trona production was
13 million tons in 1980 and nearly 18 million tons in 2000 ...
Within this success story is an important lesson for
Wyoming’s citizens and policy makers. While production
increased, the number of employees declined by 1,100 in the trona
industry and 1,800 in coal mining ...
“Major increases in production do not necessarily bring
comparable increases in employment opportunities... Significant new
Wyoming jobs will require diversification ... and job growth in
other sectors of the economy ...
future ... presents particular problems. An increasingly urban and
deregulated national economy forces us to accept fewer or reduced
services in areas such as airlines, health care and
telecommunications, or to devise new strategies to encourage public
and private investment in these fundamentally important areas ...
“Similarly, the national economy is
structured against the small producers of commodities, be it
farmers, ranchers or coalbed methane producers. They are forced to
be price takers, not price makers. Again, we are confronted with
the choice of accepting the status quo or acting on new strategies
to build Wyoming ...
“There is risk in
change ... but the greatest risk lies in doing nothing, relying on
the blind hope that things will somehow get better or at least not
get worse. Action must replace hope ... We need to turn our
energies to creating the Wyoming community. And community is the
conscious choice of individual people adopting attitudes, words and
actions that build our sense of place, people and purpose.”
— Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal