I read Lynn Woodard’s guest op-ed in last week’s Boomerang, in which he argues against scrutiny of the proposed wind project near Tie Siding. In fact his piece shows why a moratorium is essential.
Let’s recap: Woodard is married to a person who got a big ranch for free, by inheriting it from her parents, who got it for free by inheriting from theirs, and so on. Yet despite the zero upfront cost, the generous acreage and the minimal property taxes, they can’t make it pay. Rather than buckling down and working better and smarter – surely the true Wyoming way – these failed ranchers now want to grab some grubby dollars from a fly-by-night Texas energy company instead. These Texans are aiming to milk every last cent from subsidies and tax breaks via a ludicrous scheme that can’t possibly work as outlined. Woodard’s enthusiasm for the free money has prompted him to support it, to the vast detriment of his county, his state, and his neighbors.
But why worry about his neighbors? They’re only the little folk, who worked hard, saved hard, and actually, you know, bought their places. Woodard’s haughty, lofty, let-them-eat-cake disdain reminds me of entitled aristocrats from old-time Europe.
He obediently types out the Texan talking points, all of which are half-truths, and most of which are outright lies. He says the scheme passes all regulations – which is impossible, because it proposes using giant off-shore maritime machines never before considered for land use, and therefore never tested or assessed.
He says when the facility is worn out, in about 35 years, the turbines will come down and the land will be restored to a normal state. If he believes that, I have a bridge in New York he might be interested in. He parrots the Texans’ promise of $100 million in tax revenue. If he believes that, I have an oceanfront lot in Laramie he might like.
He says the effect on habitat and wildlife will be minimal. In fact thousands of rare and endangered raptors will be bloodily slaughtered; native herds of wild ruminants will be driven away by the roaring, thrashing, thumping noise; and cheat grass will spread, because spraying from the air will be henceforth impossible, destroying grazing land and prairie, and posing an extreme fire risk in summer.
We need a moratorium precisely to think through issues like these. What kind of county do we want? Do we want the first sight of Wyoming from the south to be an industrial hellhole? Do we want natural beauty destroyed, for the benefit of Texan energy companies? Do we want decisions rushed through, because of short-term greed on the part of people like Woodard?
I say, no we don’t. I say we should step back, take a breath, and figure out what is best for all of us, not just an entitled few.
Lee Child is the globally best-selling author of the Jack Reacher series. He lives in Tie Siding.