Sunday, August 23, 2009

Then Came Why-oming

My husband and I had traveled across the southern part of Wyoming in 2002 and dropped from there down to Salt Lake City. We were excited that our train- instead of rolling across into Denver- had to make a detour up and across this same area because of some rail repairs on the normal route. I remembered how clear and crisp the air was, how blue the sky and how you could see in fine detail the mountains and buttes in the distance.
What a difference a bare decade makes.

As we rolled from the clear, blue skies of Nevada into southern Wyoming we were suddenly enveloped by a thick fog in every direction. Impossible, as the humidity was only about 11 percent. Still, a murky haze lay over the land - obscuring the stark mountains and buttes. And it smelled- bad.

A quick check on the net showed us that since the Bush administration took over, Dick Cheney's home State had de-regulated the oil and coal industries. And these industries took advantage of this- with a vengeance.

You used to be able to see the mountains back there - behind the miles of coal cars.
Not that the coal and petroleum industries have helped the economies of the few people living here- evidence of deep poverty was embedded in the little towns we passed by.
The only things that have gone up under these sad, permanently gray skies are industry profits and local cancer rates.

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