Saturday, August 02, 2008

Dear Son: Enjoy Wyoming's wind energy

Dear Beloved College Son in Tucson, Ariz.:

I am sending you 2,000 megawatts of wind-generated electricity to power your air conditioner, PC and X-box. You can thank me later, around 2014, to be exact. That's when the huge wind farm in Carbon County will be ready. This is also the target date to build a $3 billion 3,000- megawatt high-voltage transmission line. This line, according to an article in this morning's paper, will be 900 miles long and link up with sites in Arizona, Nevada, and California. Once again, Wyoming will be the energy exporter and the growing cities of the Southwest will be the beneficiaries of our largess, not to mention we get to look at the thousands of scenic wind generators atop our mountains and transmission towers marching across our prairies.

Currently, we burn coal in power plants and send the electricity to you to keep the lights burning in Scottsdale and Lake Havasu City. We dig the coal out of the Wyoming soil so it's only natural that we pollute our air to send you power. We also send you natural gas, although we need pipelines for that, lots of pipelines. We're pumping the gas out of the ground like there's no tomorrow -- or like there are changes a-brewing in Washington, D.C. Dick Cheney's been kind enough to open up all of our public lands to energy exploration. Can't wait to thank him when he moves back to Wyoming in January.

We send you water, too, I can't forget that. Our Wyoming and Colorado mountains reach to the sky to gather the winters snows so that the golf courses of Tucson and Phoenix can remain green year-round. We don't mind sending you the waters of the Green and the Yampa and the Colorado when we have it. Lots of water this year due to terrific winter storms. As you know, we've been struggling with a drought for the previous decade or so. If the snows keep up, your city fathers might want to invest in a few dozen additional golf courses. There will be so much water that you can take a shower twice a week! Imagine that. Your girlfriend will appreciate this.

Now, this is the United States of America. We help each other out in lots of ways. So what if Wyoming is the energy exporter of the West and the rapidly growing cities of the Southwest are the importers? Not every state is lucky enough to be located atop millions of tons of low-sulphur coal and directly in the path of the westerlies. But I do wonder what Arizona will send us in return. John McCain is not enough! Besides, we won't be hearing much from him after Nov. 4. We have appreciated the books of your fine writers, such as Barbara Kingsolver (loved "High Tide in Tucson") and poet Alberto Rios. I gladly will trade Arizona a few megawatts of wind energy for a good book.

Arizona has provided refuge for thousands of Wyoming retirees. We're grateful. My former Cheyenne neighborhood emptied out each November as the snowbirds headed south. Once all those huge RVs hit the road, we could once again see the night sky. So many stars!

Yes, you gave us Arizona Iced Tea and the Arizona Diamondbacks, which have become a nuisance to us Colorado Rockies fans. I like cactus, but there's just so many cacti we can put in our window garden.

Somehow, I think you get the better end of this deal. But, we'll keep doing our job up here in Wyoming as long as you keep studying. I know you like Tucson, but we would love to have you complete your education and return to Wyoming to teach. Let Arizona be the exporter this one time.

Have a great school year.

Love, Dad

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