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Fri Aug 11, 2017, 11:54 PM

Harrop: Why are coal, oil jobs favored over ag, recreation?

There are regions where economic stress coexists with a beloved way of life. It can be hard to make a living in parts of the rural West, northern New England and the South. But people stay put in these places for reasons other than the almighty dollar. They include community, tradition and quality of life.

The prospect of losing a way of life is the source of anger in eastern Wyoming over the Trump administrationís opening of more public lands in the Powder River Basin to coal mining. It is also behind the continuing resistance in Nebraska to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

But the issues go beyond the matter of souls vs. fossil fuels. They involve conflicts between one source of income and other sources. Both projects threaten the water supply in places where water is extremely valuable. That, in turn, threatens the farm and ranching economies on which these regions depend.

A clean environment is also essential for the recreation industry, a major employer in the rural West. Without clean water and air, hunters, anglers and hikers would have no reason to be there ó nor would the outfitters whose businesses depend on them.

Ranchers canít ranch if the water supply is fouled. Mining operations throw dust in the air that chokes the animals. They also scrape away the grasslands on which cattle feed. The U.S. Forest Service puts pasture near the mines off-limits to ranchers. Small wonder ranchers are among the most potent opponents to expanded mining on public land.


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Reply Harrop: Why are coal, oil jobs favored over ag, recreation? (Original post)
Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin Aug 2017 OP
Warpy Aug 2017 #1

Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Sat Aug 12, 2017, 12:09 AM

1. Because those jobs don't enrich the Koch brothers

Shoot, look how fast retail is being decimated these days. Retail were the jobs of last resort for a lot of people who got downsized or had their jobs offshored. It was always something you could fall back on.

Take a drive around, look how many stores have been closing. Most cities have at least one ghost mall, a retail paradise only 25 years ago but killed off by anchor store megamergers and bankruptcies and now by wages that just fell too far in terms of purchasing power for people to want to shop.

Those employed millions of people. They don't make the Koch brothers richer, either, so no one seems to care.

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