My wife and I delighted in a tour of the US
national parks that surround Wyoming last month: Rocky Mountains, Yellowstone,
Grand Tetons, Devils Tower and Mount Rushmore. We live in a spectacular
country. Along the way she asked, “So what did you learn?” Of course I view
things through an energy lens.
As I thought about the expansive and
beautiful landscapes, several other profound images appeared: mile
long coal trains that supply huge coal-fired power plants, the vast
windy plains and the bark beetle that has devastated pine trees in
the Rocky Mountain National Forest.
Wyoming is an energy producing state and coal
is the life-blood of that economy. Mining, railway and power plants
employ entire towns. Yet it’s our most polluting fuel. One consequence
of global warming has altered the bark beetle’s normal winter death cycle.
The beetle is now winning and over 90%
of some forests have died.
The solution was in our face every day — as Wyoming has consistent strong winds that remain untapped. With high-voltage
transmission access, these winds could power lights across the western US. It's
cleaner and wind energy creates good jobs.
revealed what is, and what could be. It’s the transition that’s hard.
Business as usual is killing our forests. The renewable solution is blowing hard
across the plains states every day.
In Partnership for the Planet,