Appalled at entitlement
I was appalled to read Robin Siegfried’s whiny Guest Shot. Everyone in Jackson Hole has had a bad neighbor now and then. He sure was one. From his plan to illegally land choppers on his property on the residential Fish Creek Road, his noisy illegal “party house” built with no regard or consideration for his close neighbors, his stealing of antique hotel keys (as reported in this paper), his rudeness and general disregard for Western values and his rich man’s attitude of entitlement, he was a blight on the land.
I am grateful he has moved back to Tulsa where he belongs. Thank goodness we have county regulations that thwart such opportunistic people who come here only wishing to enrich themselves at our expense.
MRIs on sale?
Does it bother anyone else that the hospital is so desperate for revenue that it is instructing people with lower back pain to tell their doctor they need an order for an MRI? Is that really the way the system is supposed to work? The vendor tells the patient: MRI on sale. Get one now.
Lower back pain is common and most often needs physical therapy, ice, heat, stretching, remembering to lift with your legs. An MRI should be ordered only due to medical necessity, not because the hospital needs revenue.
How can the hospital, without even examining the patient, determine that an MRI is needed and that the patient should “ask your doctor for an order, then call ...”
The controversy over winter elk feeding is a critical issue. The National Elk Refuge is public property that has been managed by the federal government in cooperation with Wyoming state government for over 100 years. Discontinuing feeding will result in thousands of elk starving to death. Wyoming owns the wildlife. Therefore, this would be destruction of state assets, adversely affecting the economy.
Furthermore, public input should not be restricted by an imposed time limit.
Don’t crimp solar
Solar power is booming across the country. That boom, which has made the job of solar installer the fastest-growing job in the U.S., is about market economics: The price to install solar has fallen so much over the last decade (over 70%) that in many scenarios unsubsidized utility-scale solar is one the cheapest sources of energy.
However, most of the actual job growth is from small businesses working at the residential and neighborhood scale, installing small-scale rooftop solar. Small-scale solar is enabled by a concept known as “net metering” — which allows residents and small businesses to sell excess electricity they produce back to the market.
In many parts of the country, including the agriculture-heavy West, farmers and ranchers have found that they can cut their electricity costs through solar arrays on their property. Cities and towns have also found that they can reduce electricity costs for municipal and public buildings like schools, saving resources and taxpayer dollars by generating some of their energy on-site.
The Wyoming Legislature is considering a bill that would kill net metering and, with it, the small-scale solar rooftop business. The argument against net metering is that it can shift utility costs to nonparticipants. However, the overall share of energy in residential solar is so low — less than 0.04% of total energy capacity generated in Wyoming (derived from U.S. Energy Information Agency numbers) — that the overall cost impact to nonparticipants is negligible.
Furthermore, cost shifting is not unique to rooftop solar or net metering. It’s happening all the time as utilities pass along costs to ratepayers to help pay for energy efficiency programs or to extend electric service to remote rural areas.
If utilities are truly interested in keeping rates low in the long run, they should be focusing on transitioning to the cheapest forms of energy and fostering grid innovation and adoption of modern energy technologies like net metering.
We need to let the solar industry thrive in Wyoming. While in itself it’s no silver bullet to our economic diversification challenge, as Mr. Brubaker noted in his recent Guest Shot, it’s a positive piece of the puzzle.
Governor has other problems
Gov. Mark Gordon has pledged that his administration will work very hard to ensure the successful delisting of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone area.
While this might provide a momentary sense of satisfaction for a small percentage of Wyoming citizens in the Yellowstone ecosystem, I might suggest that the governor has much more critical issues to address. The collapsing coal industry and the resulting massive budget shortfalls come to mind.