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ALCS President Publishes Op-Ed in Casper, Wyoming Newspaper

August 2nd, 2006

Wyoming comes from Pennsylvania


Pennsylvanians watching the politics of funding the federal Abandoned Mine Land Fund are deeply disappointed by the short-sighted actions of elected officials in Wyoming.

The great state of Wyoming was, like nearly all other western states, created and populated by eastern trains running on steel rails made from Pennsylvania iron, bedded on timbers from Pennsylvania forests, and burning Pennsylvania coal.

Without the massive and destructive exploitation of eastern U.S. natural resources at that time, there would have been no resulting western frontier, no European settlement, no business investment. Wyoming profited immensely from the sacrifices that Pennsylvanians made to contribute to the founding and creation of the state of Wyoming.

To this day, and as a direct result of the economic activity that created and spurred western growth, Pennsylvania carries the burden of 186,000 acres of unreclaimed coal mine lands, as well as tens of thousands of unreclaimed deep mines and polluting seeps. Only the Abandoned Mine Land Fund can address such a huge problem, documented at well more than a billion dollars.

Pennsylvania's industrial legacy has served Wyoming very well. And now it is time for Wyoming's elected officials to recognize our state's enormous contribution to Wyoming's well-being from its very beginning, and to allow Pennsylvania to use the federal Abandoned Mine Land funds to clean up the remnants of our mutually shared past mistakes, which Pennsylvanians carry disproportionately.

Consider the fact that the state of Wyoming took its name in 1890 (suggested as early as 1865) from Wyoming County, Pa. (incorporated in 1842). The name Wyoming is from the Delaware Indian (Pennsylvania) language meaning "great grassy plains," large grassy areas which Pennsylvania had in abundance back then. As we Pennsylvanians would like to restore our grassy areas and recapture our former idyllic greatness, something that Wyoming residents take for granted in their own big sky state, we look to our fellow citizens from Wyoming to remember the old days, and to help us. We helped Wyoming.

JOSH FIRST, Harrisburg, Pa.