Chamois L. Andersen

Chamois Andersen writes reports and articles for a broad audience concerned about the environment and natural resources. She is currently head of Communications and Outreach for the Wyoming State Geological Survey. Previously, she worked as a public information officer for the University of Wyoming's Environment and Natural Resources Program, as well as for the California Department of Fish and Game and the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

The story of uranium in Wyoming is a high-stakes drama whose cast includes fever-driven prospectors, ranchers defending their property rights, government officials intent on national security, entrepreneurs, engineers and world-class mining companies.

In 1843, explorer John C. Frémont reported coal in what’s now southwest Wyoming. In the 1860s, the route of the new transcontinental railroad across Wyoming was chosen partly to access abundant coal deposits for fuel for the locomotives. Coal mining boomed, labor strife increased and Wyoming’s coal industry thrived despite worker strikes and a number of horrific mine accidents. Today, the state produces 40 percent of the nation’s coal, most of it from huge strip mines in the Powder River Basin in northeast Wyoming, for rail shipment to electric power plants in 34 states.