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“But This is Home” Examination of Energy Production History in WYO

April 21, 2010

LARAMIE, Wyo. - Wyoming is the nation's 'energy state,' producing more coal than the three other top coal-producing states combined, and supplying a large portion of the nation's natural gas and oil.

Those facts are part of a presentation today (Wednesday) in Laramie by Duane Keown, a University of Wyoming professor emeritus of science education. He examines the history of how becoming the nation's top energy producer has affected Wyoming's quality of life.

"The nation's pretty well locked on Wyoming, but the nation doesn't look at Wyoming very often to find out what it costs - what it costs as far as our environment here."

On the plus side, says Keown, production has boosted wages and lowered poverty levels. On the downside, air and water pollution have increased and energy production has damaged some private property.

Today, he adds, there is great pressure on Wyoming to always produce more for the rest of the country. He wants everyone to keep in mind that the state's coal, oil and gas supplies won't last forever. While Wyoming is becoming a player in wind energy production, he feels the state is rich in other renewable potential, as well.

"We do have options, and of course, if your family's welfare depends on going to the extraction business for employment, it's kind-of hard to see the other side."

Keown's presentation, entitled "But This is Home," is part of Laramie's Earth Week festivities. It takes place at 7:30 p.m. in the UW Classroom Building, Room 310.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - WY