News From Trump Country: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

 

Photo courtesy of Trump campaign.

Trump campaign photo.

The photos of President Trump signing the order to release more coal leases with Senator Barrasso and Representative Cheney from Wyoming standing on his right leaves no doubt that I live in Trump country. The headlines in the Wyoming news blares “Coal workers excited”. Other than a handful of liberals, who hate all Republicans, Trump can do no wrong in Wyoming. That is the ugly, as everyone knows coal is not coming back. At the recent coal lease sale not one lease was sold. The anticipated coal sales to Asia have dissolved, as even Australia is lamenting the decline of exports to China. The idea of opening a deep seaport in Seattle or Portland to ship coal to Asia has been shelved. Lighthouse Coal is shipping some Powder River coal to Asia through the Westshore Terminals in British Columbia, Canada, but that is it.

Where a President Trump can help Wyoming — good or bad depending on one’s outlook — is in the rising oil and gas area. At a recent oil/gas auction all 197 leases were sold; 95 in Laramie County where I live. That is the good. At a recent oil/gas auction all 197 leases were sold, 95 in Laramie County where I live. That is the bad. The quandary that is Wyoming cannot be better explained than a cartoon in the recent “High Country News” where a fracking guy is telling a coal guy that fracking is more cost-effective than coal at polluting the air and water.

Recently a Texas oil company announced they were going to drill 13 wells that would run under an east Cheyenne subdivision. When the news broke in the newspaper and protests were raised the company said they mailed notices to all the subdivision residents about an upcoming meeting and no one showed up. The only problem was they sent those notices to the wrong subdivi,sion. Honest mistake? And it is not just here in Wyoming, but in Colorado as well. Boulder County banned all drilling in its county but now a Denver oil company is suing saying only the state can ban drilling. They want to drill 105 wells by Longmont.

I have noticed orange signs popping up on fences announcing a future development at that area. The signs don’t say what the development is but they are in areas where no one would build houses or business complexes. A couple of those signs have appeared on the back road that I sometimes take into town. It is like driving through a Pronghorn reserve as several groups feed in the open fields, The occasional fox will dart across the road. Even a few deer roam out of the tree lines at dusk. Despite the three 400-foot behemoth windmills that service Warren, hawks swoop down and grab gophers or field mice and then sit on a fence post eating their snack. I do not need my wildlife drive turned into an oil patch drive because some liberal in San Francisco or New York City can turn on their gas stove and say, “See how cleaner gas burns than coal”.

As far as renewables, the Chokecherry wind farm by Saratoga is finally getting built with most of the power going to California. Rocky Mountain Power just announced it will spend $3.5 billion on windmills and upgrading the transmission lines. Another California company proposed spending more than $8 billion on a wind farm by Chugwater, 40 miles north of me. I haven’t heard more on that. But wind will not replace coal jobs.

On immigration, Wyoming is the only state without a refugee relocation department but the liberals want to create one. Unless they are planning on reopening Heart Mountain Internment Center, how many refugees do they expect to make their way to Wyoming? A dozen? hardly worth creating a whole new government agency for. Cheyenne has a solid Muslim community that would step up to help refugees.

On healthcare, anyone following the news knows the repeal of the ACA is again dead in the water. About 25,000 people in Wyoming have signed up on the ACA but, with only one provider, options are few.

Wyoming farmers are excited that the legislators have approved hemp farming. But before I can plant five acres of hemp to supplement my retirement the state has to get the testing equipment and set up guidelines. That could take two years. As far as legal marijuana that is dead in the water. Not because of the legislature but because of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws’ (NORML) ineptness. Polls showed 70 percent of Wyomingites were for medical marijuana, but then the NORML groups began fighting among themselves about MMJ or MJ and the petitions never got in.

And that is the news from Trump country here in Wyoming.

Sincerely, Bruce Vojtecky, former Anderson resident.

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41 Responses

  1. Richard Christoph says:

    Cheyenne,

    Thanks for taking the time to write this interesting view from Wyoming. Much to ponder.

  2. A. Jacoby says:

    What an interesting foray into reality vs. hyperbole.  Would that constituents around the country could take such a clear-eyed gaze into reality. Thanks for the perspective.

  3. Rod says:

    Much appreciated OldTimer.

    The windfarms are just right for the parts of Wyoming that I know.  I can’t imagine why the cost of installation has grown into the billions.  There’s gotta be some eager fingers in the pie. Case in point…I’d rather grow 5 acres of renewable energy than 5 acres of hemp.  The Nebraska corn huskers can handle the hemp requests.  Seriously, isn’t there an opportunity for a cottage industry creating electricity from wind?

    NORML has overstepped in several states recently.  MJ legalization seems to require much more government than people want or need.  For crying out loud just imagine if we were to seek legalization of aspirin what the hurdles would be.   MMJ, if NORMAL would back-off to a less radical position,  could show and tell the true nature of the herb.

     

  4. KATHLEEN RAVEN SURBAUGH says:

    Wind.  Wind.  Wind.

  5. Robert Stone says:

    Liberals do not like technology nor do they like educated options, they would rather kill birds with windmills:

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/510736/a-cleaner-way-to-use-coal/

    • cheyenne says:

      I am surrounded by windmills and the birds leave their markings all over the yard.  Duke Energy was fined for bird kill from it’s Wyoming windmills, 149 in five years.  More birds are killed by flying into plate glass windows.  Your coal article needs to be updated.  Wyoming has a coal gasification plant already running and Colorado has been approved to have their own plant.

      • K. Beck says:

        MOST birds are killed by cats. Must be all those GD liberals, I know FOR SURE they own all the cats!

        Yawn.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      My firm monitored the bird mortality at Hatchet Ridge wind farm for three years.   Feral cats, glass windows, and guy-wires around transmission towers are bigger problems by many orders of magnitude.  In fact, removing feral cats* from the wild is a legitimate form of compensatory mitigation for the impacts of wind farms on small birds.  Larger birds, not so much.

      *I’ll give you this:  A significant proportion of the people who freak out about removing feral cats from the environment are liberals.

      BTW, I’m going to go way out on a limb and say that liberals are responsible for pushing new technologies when it comes to energy, and it’s conservatives who are reluctant to move away from internal combustion engines and fossil fuel.

       

      • cheyenne says:

        Steve that is not going out on a limb.  Conservatives do push fossil fuels because that is where the jobs are, well paying jobs I might add.  Where I disagree with the liberals is their “coal dirty, gas clean” mantra.  If they lived where I live they would see that there is nothing clean about gas fracking.  And as a sidebar did you know that in Colorado there are more marijuana inspectors for about 500 shops then there are oil/gas inspectors for, the last count I saw, 30,000 to 40,000 drilling rigs.

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          Conservatives push fossil fuels because that’s where the profits are.  Jobs?  Workers just get in the way of profits. Mechanization is where it’s at. The last 30 years is the story of how little conservative politicians and business executives care about jobs.

          Here in Shasta County, the marijuana industry was well on its way to becoming the county’s leading cash crop, providing far better than living wages and an influx of revenue to the county.  The industry was becoming well-regulated and above-board, with growers coming out of the woods and putting an end to illegal grading and water diversions.

          The local holier-than-thou authoritarian conservatives (they pretend to embrace libertarianism, but c’mon…….get real), led by our Sheriff, put an end to that trend.

          • Rod says:

            The MMJ fat is in the fire in Shasta.  Things are indeed still exploding.  Income that is folding cash green is stockpiling behind closed doors.  More mom/pop growers are coming into the fray every day.  Clone producers can’t keep up with demand.  It appears we’re into the second half of the game now,  there’s a newer energized force working today.

            Yesterday,  I made my rounds in SLC, the town of smart government.  Owners who I’ve known and adapted to over the years are too busy managing the rush.  They’re pleased but feeling a bit overworked.  Ain’t that a shame for the rest of Shasta?

             

  6. kerr, david says:

    Trump represents the Limbaugh wing of the Republican party.  People voted for him as better than Clinton for nominating Supreme Court justices.

    Most countries have a parliamentary system without an imperial presidency.  Looking at the candidates over the last hundred years, we would have been better off with the House of Representatives electing the president.   America was the first experiment in representative government in the modern era.  The countries which followed us did better.

    The media have far too much influence in presidential elections.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      :::blinks:::

      Is that a conservative saying right out loud that ‘Murica ain’t got the best furm o’ gum’mint in the world?  Did the planet flip on its axis overnight?

      Rush, it should be noted, was not a Trump supporter.  It must have been a shock to his system, the degree to which his minions ignored his longstanding Trump-bashing.  I haven’t listened in recently—I’m sure he’s changed is tune to fit the circumstances, to some degree.

       

      • kerr, david says:

        You win.  Attacks like a Record Searchlight commenter annoy me.  I won’t be posting here anymore.

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          David — That wasn’t an attack, or even close to one.  It was meant as an acknowledgment that you think for yourself.  If you took offenses, it’s likely from my mocking tone regarding political orthodoxy.  If you’d read enough of my comments, you’d know I hold the same view of Davis liberals (where I lived for 10 years): “Ooh, me too!  That’s what I think, too!”

          One of the pillars of faith among many conservatives is that America is always right and always best regarding pretty much everything.  When I point out where the United States lands on metrics of well-being, quality-of-life, health, education—you name it—I am regularly accused by conservatives of being anti-American for suggesting that we could do better.  Thus, my comment about your break from the pack.

          • Rod says:

            Well that’s a face plant for you Steve. America is the best by any scale.  Especially when judged by those envious of our basic society.  Everyone wants to be an American, there is no second best.  There’s definitely room for improvement.

            The world’s best carries a very real and heavy burden, we need to constantly poke and prod the leaders to do better and get down off from their high-horse.  The fact that power corrupts people, is the main requirement of free speech, open press, and protection from religion.

            If leftists can’t accept the American responsibility towards the rest of the world, makes no matter, wrong is wrong.  American’s don’t follow some guide book, we’re writing the book.

             

             

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            Rod — Thanks for serving as the type specimen.

            Exhibit A:  “America is best by any scale.”

            Life expectancy (43rd), child mortality (30th), reading/math/science proficiency (14th), quality of life (18th), low homicide rate (108th), low general crime (87th), income disparity—OECD countries, after taxes and transfers (34th—last).

            Exhibit B:  “Everyone wants to be an American…”

            That’s the sort of thing you hear from people who have rarely if ever traveled out of country, or even interacted much with people from other countries.  It’s not even universally true of Mexicans—never mind Swedes, Danes, Norwegians, Dutch, Swiss, Kiwis, Aussies……

            When I was in grad school, the thing about America that foreign grad students loved most was the cultural diversity.  They were blown away by the variety of cuisines you could enjoy right there in Davis, for example.  Alas, cultural diversity isn’t highly valued by America’s conservatives these days.

            As for writing the book for the rest of the world:  America has become a plutocracy where money buys power, which begets more money and power.  The middle class—our former economic engine and what the rest of the world admired about America—has been in a slow death-spiral since the advent of the ongoing Reagan Revolution.  If we’re still writing the guidebook for the rest of the world, the world is well and truly screwed.

          • Rod says:

            Strike 2 buddy, one more and you’re out.

            Why do people want to be an American?  Better than all the rest.

            Forecasting the end of the world doesn’t help your position.  Every day is a new world  “if” you’re lucky enough to be an American.

            Wealth harbors the power everywhere on Earth.  America isn’t the richest country.

            The third and second world countries really, really want to be the new world.  Must be something you’re not seeing.

            Considering the latest college curriculums, I can understand the disdain you project.  Too much book learning and not enough wisdom.

             

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            Rod — I get it.  Absolutist points of view are comforting.  No heavy lifting required—just blind acceptance and averting your gaze from harsh reality.  I also get the appeal of straw men—pretending that I said something to the effect that third-world countries want to remain there.  I compared USA to mostly northern and western European countries, but whatever.  Straw men are easier to slay.

            America remains the richest country on Earth by good measure if the metric is Gross Domestic Product, and will remain so into the foreseeable future.  China only moves into first if you adjust the numbers for lower domestic costs—by that metric USA drops to second.

            When it comes to median adult individual wealth, the USA ranks 23rd of 34 OECD nations, at $44,911.  (Australia is No. 1 at $219,505.)  That’s all about wealth disparity—we’ve got the most wealth, but too much of it is in the hands of a few.

            America’s middle class is in decline, and the 1% are cornering our nation’s wealth. The first step in making a bad situation better is realizing that it’s messed up.  Denial and delusion don’t help.  Betting that a megalomaniacal New York billionaire is going to betray his class is foolish, nation of chumps.

            Your turn.  Go ahead and call “strike 3,” Pollyanna.

          • Rod says:

            OK Chicken Little, your sky is falling, my sky is spectacular.

            People want to be an American.  I’ve yet to discover a more desirable home.

            Your own heavy lifting could stand some relief.  Your bound-up in untrue meandering rather than reaping your rewards.

            Measuring a society’s GDP as a measure of power and wealth is foolish.  We all seek much more than mere profit.

            So what if the middle class is shrinking, it’s normal.  The abnormality is thinking we can raise the lower class.  We sure as heck can’t lower the upper class.

            Just swing for the fences big guy,  no strike 3 today.

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            Okay, gotcha.

            Metrics means nothing—all that matters is how Rod feels in Rod’s stomach.  The Gross Nostalgic Product.  What, me worry?

            Cool.

            Rod sez: “We sure as heck can’t lower the upper class.”

            But we did, from WWII through the 1960s, and the middle class exploded.  We are now heading toward being a two-class society….you know, like all of those 2nd- and 3rd-world nations that you say people want to leave.  You’re good with that……but I have kids and grandkids, and that’s not the country I want to leave to them.

             

          • Rod says:

            Gross Nastalgic Product?  I’m gonna quote you on that one.

            Things are changing, you worry about irrelevant misconceptions.  Your kids need you to be Dad and let them handle their own adult complexities.  They’ll do fine.  You’ve given them the gift of being born and raised in America.

            Can you describe the country that you’d prefer to leave to your Kids?

            My eldest is 50 my youngest is 3 months.  I understand kids, they’re the best of everything.  I’m leaving them this world, this one as it is, imperfect of course but the best I can imagine.  I can’t change one thing for their benefit.

            BTW my educated buddy, post WWII did explode the middle class, but we didn’t do it by lowering the upper class.  We invented government indebtedness passed on to our kids.  That’ll need to be fixed eventually.

             

  7. K. Beck says:

    Big money has ALL the influence in politics in the USA. The Supreme Court deemed this is the way it should be. Democracy? What democracy?

    I vote for a Parliamentary system!…am I agreeing with kerr, david? Yikes!

     

    • K. Beck says:

      Responding to this comment, not myself!:

      “Steve Towers  May 10, 2017 at 8:40 am: Rod — Thanks for serving as the type specimen.

      That’s the sort of thing you hear from people who have rarely if ever traveled out of country, or even interacted much with people from other countries.”

      I have long been advocating a three month trip to some foreign country/countries for every US high school student as mandatory for a long time. I know, I know, who would pay for that? I know of no one who has done substantial traveling to other countries who come back unchanged. Usually in a good way. It is a good lesson in “not everyone is us.”

      People come/came to the US because there used to be jobs. Look at the history. Now, for the most part, they come here because we have started some war in THEIR country, they are starving (take a good look at the “Arab Spring”), and their homes have been bombed to smithereens. They come from Mexico because NAFTA kicked the chair out from under their own ag jobs. They can’t compete with big US ag. Their farm jobs are gone, they don’t like seeing their families starving.

      Unfortunately the US is slipping down that same slippery slope.

  8. Joanne Lobeski Snyder says:

    Thank you for a great article.  As a renter or home owner I’ve never had a choice of energy source.  The infrastructure of natural gas or propane or electricity existed before I moved in.   Do either liberals or conservatives in San Francisco have the option of choosing coal over gas?

    I do know that I  love the description of your “wildlife drive”, and I would hope that nothing ever  interferes with the ecosystem that supports all of these birds and animals.

  9. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    Cheyenne — As a native of the Rocky Mountains, I enjoy everything you write.  Whenever you lead with,”Here in Wyoming…” I know I’m going to get good 411 on what’s going on in the region of my origin.

    I’ve also kept up my subscription to the High Country News—the sole news publication subscription I retained after becoming so thoroughly disgusted* by the state of newspapers that I dropped all of my daily subscriptions late last year.  Alas, I’m a life-long newspaper junkie, and I’m now in the process of deciding which dailies to pick up again.  The local version of USA Today is on the short list, but it’s not going to be #1—that’ll probably be the Bee.

    *I stopped watching local TV news 25 years ago because of the shallowness and sensationalism of the coverage.  I’ve watched in horror over the past decade as local newspapers devolve toward that same shallowness and sensationalism.

    • Rod says:

      Yeah, no doubt about it.

      What in the world makes us junkies for the news?  It ain’t news that attracts us so much.  It seems to be an attraction to the “what if”.  I don’t want to miss out, what if something happens and I’m not included?  HG Wells proved the point with his broadcast of “War of the Worlds”.

      It’s been said that boredom is our biggest waste of time and energy.  The news business likes to play that tune.  Personally, I find better news watching the clouds play across my sky.  It’s all up there showing in slow motion.

       

    • Beverly Stafford says:

      Yeah, ask Doni about that.

    • cheyenne says:

      The Denver Post is a good informative paper and its sub paper, The Cannabist, has won many journalism awards.  Also they have in depth coverage of the Broncos, who with all the thugs they have hired, is a new version of the Raiders.  What is their new name, Vegas Raiders or Sin City Raiders?

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        I was bummed when The Rocky Mountain News died and left The Denver Post as the region’s only large newspaper.  Regarding the Broncos: It’s a QB league, and whoever starts for Denver is likely to remain the worst QB in the division.  As for the Las Vegas Raiders: Landlocked pirates?  How does that make sense?  They should re-brand as the Las Vegas Long-Nosed Leopard Lizards*.

        *copyright pending

        • cheyenne says:

          But Steve, Mr. Irrelevant who was picked by The Broncos is a quarterback and a thug who dropped from possible first round to last pick because of actions he committed that were because of youthful exuberance.  Who knows who the Denver quarterback will end up being.  Not Tebow as his baseball career is going better than his NFL career.

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            “Mr. Irrelevant” Kelly’s biggest shortcoming is that he’s only 6’2″.  Elway likes his QBs at least as tall as he is, and Chad falls a little short.  Lynch is Brock Osweiler-tall, but that’s no guarantee of success (obviously).  Lynch came out of Memphis State, and when they picked him in 2016 my immediate thought was: stupid.  And I don’t mean stupid pick.  I mean stupid player.  I knew an assistant professor at UC Davis who had spent time at Memphis State, and she described it as a zoo for third-rate academics from the Deep South.  One of her lectures was disrupted by a couple at the back of the lecture hall having sex.  She said their make-out session got out of hand and it was like they couldn’t help themselves.

          • Rod says:

            Colin Kaepernick is still unsigned, maybe forever.

            The raider cheerleaders were recently awarded $1.2 million in unfair labor dispute with front office.  They do make the game more interesting.

            Political activism is a dead fish in the NFL.  Let’s play ball!  And thank you ladies,  you deserve every penny and more.

             

    • cheyenne says:

       

      steve, I like to occasionally read small town newspapers that report news that can benefit Wyoming.  The World out of Coos Bay is one.  The Jonah Cove pipeline to bring natural gas from the gas fields of Wyoming, Colorado and Utah to Coos Bay for export has been held up for years.  Even with Democratic support from Oregon and Colorado legislators.  Now the port is looking at a massive dredging to make their port larger and support more ships.  When The World asked if Jonah Cove or it’s pipeline companies are involved the reply was a non-committable “We are having talks with them”.  This is the type of project that, if done, Trump will say he did it.

      And this year the Wyoming Tourism Council is predicting a doubling of the population this summer to view the total eclipse.  I’m sure Trump did that.  Oh, help I’ve been here too long.  I’m brainwashed.

  10. cheyenne says:

    Due to it’s low population Wyoming’s middle class can grow or shrink because of one person  A couple of years ago the middle class grew when Chrissy Walton moved back to Arkansas leaving less gap between rich and poor.  Now the middle class is shrinking because Sandra Bullock is moving to Jackson, she says to have her kids grow up in a good environment.  There are rumors that she will buy the Million Dollar Bar in Jackson.

  11. Frank Treadway says:

    Trump is going to be a thorn in Wyoming’s side, and all state government’s for the next 4 years anyway, if he doesn’t go down with his version of the Titanic before then. Whatever it takes to make Wyoming Blue, Sandra Bullock or legalized MJ, just make it happen.  If the Town Hall meetings in Wyoming are anything like in CD1, he and his GOP cronies are in for a scare in 2018.

    • cheyenne says:

      Wyoming will never be Blue.  It’s in their DNA.  MJ or MMJ will not be legalized until the NORML groups quit fighting amongst themselves and come up with one plan.  The town hall meetings are with card board cutups and the Republicans in Wyoming have nothing to fear but each other in 2018.  With all the infighting and suing each other one would think the Republicans are dead in Wyoming but the only question is not if a GOP wins but which one.

      The big political battleground is Colorado.  Republican Mike Coffman said all along that he would vote for the ACA repeal and at the last minute he changed his mind and voted against it.  The Colorado protests against the ACA repel changed his mind.  Now the protesters are targeting Cory Gardner to vote no against the repeal.  What these Republicans are doing is knocking the wind out of their Democratic opponents.  If the Dems can’t use the “No ACA” vote against the GOP then they have to talk economy and the GOP leads there despite the thousands of minimum wage jobs the Dems have created.

      I don’t think the Republicans, and even some Democrats, realized what a big issue the ACA was as far as people wanting it.

      • Rod says:

        I agree, ACA is wanted and needed.

        Affordable care that prices itself beyond reach of everyday people isn’t affordable.  So expecting magical insurance to make-up for the unaffordable care is a political hot-potatoe.  I have noticed the media and elected servants of the people, have now dropped the health insurance name and replaced it with health care.

        America’s health care is controlled not by need nor Doctors,  insurance profiteers rule.  Corporate insurance is exploding our economy.  I’ve never uncovered the need for insured health coverage.  Profits on top of profits is the health insurance fraud.

         

  12. cheyenne says:

    More proof yesterday that I live in Trump country.  For a few years I have read how Wyoming’s DC legislators and Governor Mead have fought the feds over allowing the state to go after making companies recapture flaring because of the lost taxes.  Here in Laramie County alone it was estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Governor Mead tried to tax the flaring to make the companies pay and was rebuffed by the feds.  Now, yesterday, a bill to make companies capture that flaring, bringing millions of needed tax dollars to the state, was finalized and Wyoming’s legislators voted against it.  Trump effect?

  13. Common Sense says:

    From news in your Trump Country to how other Countries view #45!

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