Our View: Craig is ahead of the economic diversity game | CraigDailyPress.com

Our View: Craig is ahead of the economic diversity game

It’s amazing how the coal industry has changed over the past few decades.

We live in a highly regulated environment, and we’re all still dealing with the news of Craig Station’s Unit 1 closing in nine years.

So when we look around our community and can clearly see Trapper Coal Mine — surface coal mine — located just south of Craig, we can’t help but wonder what else coal can be used for?

We’re wondering if, in the current economic climate, our economic diversity groups have researched if there’s other products coal can be turned into for a profit other than burning it at a coal-fired power plant?

It’s no secret that we have tons of empty warehouse buildings that could be filled with some sort of manufacturing. Is there a product out there that can also be be made from coal?

The problem with coal currently that when it’s burned, it releases CO2, which makes us wonder if coal could be turned into some kind of product that doesn’t require it to be burned?

We’re proud of the fact that Craig and Moffat County officials, citizens and businesses are working to diversify our economy. It’s a must, and you know what? We’re way ahead of the game.

A New York Times article published in April delve into the economic woes of a town in Wyoming where 500 people were laid off from the Black Thunder and North Antelope Rochelle coal mines.

The story also states that in Wyoming, the dip in oil and gas prices, along with bankruptcies in the coal sector, has “shed some 5,500 jobs — a huge number in a state with 580,000 residents.”

The New York Times reporter interviews Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead who is quoted saying, “We’ve got to diversify our economy.”

The good news is that Craig — several years ago — already started looking into ways to diversify, so we are in fact ahead of the game.

Many in our community are critical of all the efforts put forth to diversify, including tapping into a number of different studies city and county officials have paid for to find ways to keep our economy going.

We say, let’s praise them and not criticize them. At least they’re working on it well before Unit 1 closes.

Let’s come together and find solutions. Let’s be grateful that we’re ahead of the game.

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