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Boom and Busted

I getting really sick of legislators telling me that we need a regulatory structure more like Wyoming. Jim Keane did it again yesterday in committee. He was bemoaning the fact that all the business opportunities are moving to Wyoming because of our represive environmental regulations.

I’ve got news. I lived in Wyoming for eight years and believe me, we don’t want to emulate Wyoming. The oil and coal companies OWN the Wyoming legislature. Wyoming has NO stream access rights. Environmental compliance in Wyoming is pretty much haphazard. The economy bounces up and down with the price of oil. It’s been pretty good the last few years and they have a lot of projects going. Anyone who has visited the boomtown of Gillette recently can see what that means for the environment. I bought a house in Casper at the top of a boom and sold it at the bottom of another boom for about 40% of the original price. Nobody was talking about emulating our southern neighbor twenty years ago when they were on the bottom of the oil barrel. We don’t need to build a boom and bust economy in Montana. Wyoming has higher energy taxes than Montana because the income is so sporadic.

Nobody moves to Gillette, or Casper, or Green River for the scenic beauty of all the hammerheads rising and falling on the skyline. They move there for a job that they know will pay very good wages and will be gone in five years, then they will move back to Oklahoma. We’re already fighting Wyoming pollution in Montana on the Tongue River. I played golf on a course where the hazards were oil wells. We don’t want to be Wyoming and we don’t want to smell like Wyoming. Thank You very much.

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