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Wyoming Bets Millions It Can Bully Other States Into Taking Its Coal

Written by Jeff Siegel
Posted May 3, 2021

It all went down on April 6…

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon created a $1.2 million fund that would be used to help the state’s coal industry sue any state that blocks its coal exports.

How did all of this come about?

As reported by the AP:

Last year, Wyoming and Montana... asked the Supreme Court to override a decision by Washington state to deny a permit to build a coal export dock on the Columbia River.

The interstate lawsuit followed years of unsuccessful attempts by the dock's developer, Utah-based Lighthouse Resources, to contest the permit denial in federal court.

The Supreme Court hasn’t said yet if it will hear the case but the new legal fund approved resoundingly by the Wyoming Legislature and overseen by Gordon could help cover the cost of that litigation.

So basically, because coal is dying a quick and painful death, coal-producing states are seeking to force other states to take their coal.  

That’s some Mafia-type shit right there. 

Look, the coal industry is simply trying to put off the inevitable. And I get it. There’s a lot of money and jobs at stake. But bullying other states this way isn’t going to fly. 

According to Maryland environmental law professor Robert Percival, the Commerce Clause of the Constitution dictates that individual states are free "to regulate or outright prohibit certain goods and services — coal and coal-fired electricity included — as long as they don't intentionally target certain states," the AP reports.

Worth noting is that a previous bill from 2020 established a $1 million fund to promote Wyoming coal, with $250,000 per year going toward efforts to contest plans in other states to shut down coal-fired power.

It didn’t work. And for good reason. 

You see, not only can coal not compete because of growing environmental concerns and policies, but in most places, it can’t compete on cost.  Depending upon the region, in the U.S., natural gas, solar, and wind are far cheaper than coal.

This, dear reader, is why coal is dying. And no amount of litigation can stop this.  

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out, and it really begs the question: Why would Wyoming waste millions of dollars trying to save something that can’t be saved?  

Wouldn’t that money be better spent on transitioning away from coal and helping the coal industry provide job training and incentives for industries that are NOT going the way of the rotary phone and typewriter?

It’s going to happen anyway, so why not be smart about it and bet on the horse we know is going to win — which, in this case, is renewable energy — as opposed to the horse that everyone knows is going to the glue factory?

Seems to me the only winners here will be the lawyers and the politicians that are getting fat campaign contributions to keep acting like coal has a chance.

That’s some shady shit, right there.

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