For many years, Wyoming lawmakers have been reluctant to impose new regulations on industry. At the national level, the congressional delegation has been highly critical anytime the Environmental Protection Agency proposes new regulations on energy production, saying that it costs jobs.
State leaders have echoed those statements, and over the years many legislators have even expressed concern about adding staff to the Department of Environmental Quality, fearing that it could lead to over regulation.
Trona mining is a widely forgotten part of the state’s extraction industries. But in Sweetwater County, it’s a big deal. Just west of Green River, there’s a hidden labyrinth of tunnels far below I-80. And the industry is a major part of the county’s economy. But some worry that environmental issues could be a major burden for trona mining. Amanda Le Claire has more.