What rough beast slouches toward Yellowstone?

Pop quiz: where is just about the last place you would like to punch a deep hole in the earth’s crust?

Drat. The headline gave it away, didn’t it? Well, yes. I would think Yellowstone would come readily to mind. As it turns out, if we’re worried about triggering the eruption of a supervolcano, we’re probably worried too much. For that matter, it seems there must be plenty of places to drill that don’t even involve the Sisyphusian futility of trying to drill through earth so hot it just seals the well, else this wouldn’t even be an issue. Oil giants don’t get to hoard obscene wealth by squandering it stupidly. It’s the environment they squander, and that, rapaciously.

Of course, where there’s oil, there’s money. Where there’s money, there’s political influence. And when it comes to the confluence of money, political influence and the perennial battle between states and the federal government over the rightful ownership of public land, one doesn’t need to sniff the wind for too long these days to recognize the stink of ALEC in the air.

Enter, apparently not for the first time, one Taylor Haynes, gubernatorial candidate in Wyoming, who would love to take his vision as a rancher, retired surgeon, ex-mechanical engineer, and “strict constitutionalist” and lead Wyoming toward greater freedom, including the freedom to drill for oil in Yellowstone. As of yet, there’s no whiff of ALEC on him, but given his political leanings, it should surprise nobody should one arise, especially given that the incumbent opposes drilling in Yellowstone. ALEC and the Koch brothers need to throw their influence at someone, right? Thankfully, the prognosis for his campaign doesn’t look good.

“The chance that there could soon be drilling in Yellowstone, which in 1872 became the first national park in the world, is exceedingly slim. Haynes is challenging incumbent Gov. Matt Mead (R), who opposes drilling in Yellowstone, in the August 19th primary. Election analysts expect Mead to prevail handily.”


Image credit: Adapted from Oh Yellowstone by Todd Petrie @, licensed under Creative Commons, and Oil well pump jacks by Richard Masoner @, licensed under Creative Commons.

4 replies »

  1. I have to admit I’ve believed the whole imminent danger routine right up until looking at that USGS page. Even so, the prospect of drilling there spooks me. Worse would be fracking. I’ve got a comparatively ringside seat here in MT. Best cataclysmic case would be awesome sunrises. Worst? I don’t even wanna think it.

    • That kind of threw me for a loop. For years I’d accepted it as the common wisdom that we were one spin of the roulette wheel from going kablooie! And thanks! It’s good to be back out of my deep hole of blockage and silence.

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