Untrammeled coal country


I shed no tears for the looming demise of Wyoming’s coal industry (“With coal in free fall, Wyoming faces an uncertain future,” HCN, 8/5/19). Despite the Trump administration’s regulatory rollbacks and vocal cheerleading, coal is a dying industry — good news to environmentalists everywhere. Mining is a dirty, dangerous business for the miners themselves, and losing those jobs should have a silver lining for ex-workers who won’t be saddled with the chronic diseases that afflict miners around the world. Many other industries have been disrupted by competition and new technologies. For rural Wyoming, it’s hard to picture large-scale retraining of mining workers, absent a huge surge in non-extractive industries like solar, wind or geothermal. Which may mean that the Powder River Basin and other remote areas, despite mining scars, may return to a more natural state, untrammeled by earthmovers and coal trucks. That would be a good thing.

Jeffrey Marshall
Scottsdale, Arizona

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