Wyoming is coal country but with fossil fuels declining along with the good-paying jobs they supported, cowboy country is learning to, if not love, at least tolerate wind as a new source of energy and revenue.
Only three of Wyoming’s 23 counties are in the black. The once aptly named Carbon County, population 18,000, is one of them and it’s where Rawlins Mayor Terry Weickum is on the front lines defending the wind industry.
He says he’s against raising its taxes on the industry, as other Republicans in the state are proposing, “not because I’m a climate change believer at all,” but “because the quality of life begins with a paycheck. And if you’re going to come here and meet the requirements and be a good neighbor, why shouldn’t I want a successful business to come here? It’s strictly pragmatic on my part.”