“Growing” in the West

9 Jul

Groaning” in not the only thing happening in the West–there is also “growing.”

In a recent Christian Science Monitor Weekly (10 June), Todd Wilkinson highlights Bozeman as a type for western economic growth that is more sustainable than boom-and-bust drilling, mining, or logging:

While the boom in energy production – coal in Wyoming and oil and gas in the Bakken formation of eastern Montana and the Dakotas – gets most of the attention, experts say the New Economy growth, rooted in the region’s scenic wonders, is one of the most important forces shaping the West. Call it the rise of the “Green Coast.”

“The notion used to be that if you weren’t mining the landscape of its ore, or cutting down the forest for its trees, or covering the range with cattle, you were doing something wrong and your economy would stagnate,” says Ray Rasker, the cofounder of Headwaters Economics, a think tank in Bozeman that analyzes socioeconomic-environmental trends. “But Bozeman and a handful of other communities in the West have evolved beyond that frontier mind-set. They’re thriving not in spite of being surrounded by protected public lands and putting certain kinds of development off limits, but because of it.”

A recent study by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a New York-based think tank, identified four economic provinces that it believes will shape America’s economic revival. One is the “third coast,” an area stretching from Texas to Tampa, Fla., along the Gulf of Mexico. Another is the manufacturing belt of the Southeast – extending from Alabama through Tennessee and the Carolinas – and a third is the Great Plains, from the Dakotas down through Oklahoma and Texas, where oil and natural-gas development is indeed helping spur a renaissance.

But the study identified the Intermountain West as having the highest rate of job growth over the past 10 years – 14.7 percent, more than three times the national average. The region’s population climbed 20 percent. Its major urban hubs are Provo-Salt Lake City along the Wasatch Mountains of Utah; Colorado Springs-Denver-Boulder-Fort Collins along the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies; Spokane, Wash.; and Boise, Idaho.

For the entire article, see here:

Return of the Rocky Mountain high – CSMonitor.com.


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