Wyoming apocalypse plan: crazy or visionary?

I-80 in Wyoming

Wyoming may take the road to becoming the first survivalist state. Photo: The Mind's Eye Photography via Flickr.

The media has been having some fun the last few days over a bill that passed the Wyoming House last week calling for the state to establish a “state continuity task force” to prepare the state for the unimaginable.

House Bill 85 authorizes $16,000 to convene a panel to study how a variety of national emergencies could impact Wyoming, including an economic meltdown, disruptions in food and energy supplies or even a breakdown of the federal government, according to the bill’s text.

“I don’t think there’s anyone in this room today who would come up here and say that this country is in good shape, that the world is stable and in good shape — because that is clearly not the case,” state Rep. Lorraine Quarberg, R-Thermopolis, said. “To put your head in the sand and think that nothing bad’s going to happen, and that we have no obligation to the citizens of the state of Wyoming to at least have the discussion, is not healthy.”

To the delight of some, an earlier version of the bill included language authorizing the task force to consider whether to “implement a draft, raise a standing army, marine corps, navy and air force and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier.”

“Surely, I thought, this means that at least somebody has a sense of humor about this project,” writes Kevin Underhill in Forbes. “Even if Wyoming were going to be independent, either by choice or because the other 49 states just quit inviting it to things, it’s not very likely to need an aircraft carrier,” given that the land-locked mountain state’s largest body of water is tiny Lake Yellowstone.

But the Daily Caller writes that the aircraft carrier language was a poison-pill provision later struck from the bill to ensure its passage. The bill’s sponsor, Republican state Rep. David Miller, says he’s not worried about the apocalypse. Instead, he just thinks it would be prudent to plan for the state to take care of itself in the event of an unforeseen natural or political disaster, as the residents of Louisiana largely had to do after Hurricane Katrina.

“Things happen quickly sometimes — look at Libya, look at Egypt, look at those situations,” Miller told the Star-Tribune in Casper. “We wouldn’t have time to meet as a Legislature or even in special session to do anything to respond.”

The Prepper State

Wyoming, like its sparsely populated neighbors Idaho and Montana, seems favored as a place of redoubt by survivalists and “patriot” groups, such as the Wyoming Constutional Militia. This bill seems inspired by their spirit.

Yet, Transitioners and others in the re-localization movement would surely applaud the legislation’s call for the task force to also consider a local currency for the state in the event of the collapse of the US dollar.

Wyoming’s state legislators are showing great foresight in planning for a future beyond the next election. By contrast, my own state legislature in Virginia looks like a clown show for considering a bill to require women wanting an abortion to undergo a mandatory invasive “trans-vaginal” (yikes!) ultrasound, ridiculed by Jon Stewart as “a TSA patdown inside your vagina.”

The bill is scheduled for a vote in Wyoming’s state senate this week. But whether it becomes law or not, the idea serves as an example for other states to start planning for economic troubles, peak oil and other scary scenarios. Bill sponsor Miller even claims that he has received comments from residents in Colorado, Montana, Idaho, Arizona, Missouri, Arkansas and other states, all asking for copies of the bill to give to their own representatives.

— Erik Curren, Transition Voice

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  1. says

    We will see more of this in time. This type of approach is more practical in a large country like the United States, but would be harder to pull off in smaller countries, such as those in Europe. In a way, it represents a “transition community” on a state level. Therefore, we can see three transition entities – the state, local communities, and individuals (or survivalists) – preparing, not necessarily for the end of the world, but a severe enough crisis that fuel, food and other supplies become hard to obtain. In the end, small, local self-sufficient communities will be what matter.

    • John Fialko says

      Good for Wyoming! If they depend on the Federal Government for help through the upcoming crisis, they are waiting for help from those who caused the problem.

  2. Jason Burton says

    Wyoming is for sure an interesting place and its biggest concern in any transition movement might be how to trade natural gas for food since the growing season is all of 60 days or so in much of the state.
    Note: “tiny lake Yosemite” is neither tiny nor Yosemite. Lake Yellowstone is in Yellowstone National Park (federal land btw) and it’s big enough for an aircraft carrier to make wolf bombing runs from.

    • says

      Thanks Jason. We made the edit. And even the Forbes article talked about how a carrier could fit in the lake. But of course it would still be funny to have a large ocean-going warship stranded in a landlocked lake.

  3. W. R. Flynn says

    It is impossible to know whether the coming economic contraction will be slow or fast. Resource depletion is real. The debt-driven economic system is becoming more fragile every day. The end result of this is not going to be good. Ignoring the possibility of a very rapid economic collapse is unwise.
    It’ll be interesting to follow Wyoming HB 85, and even more interesting if other elected bodies, both state and local, follow this example.

  4. Auntiegrav says

    Why can’t someone be a Crazy Visionary? Just because they’re crazy doesn’t mean they’re stupid.
    Most visionary ideas are considered crazy: especially when keeping the status quo is how those who have the say-so keep their power to say so.
    The craziest idea is to think things will stay the same.

  5. Maggie Jihan says

    Not crazy at all–except in the sense that Auntie G mentions. That is, if ‘reality’–and therefore being sane enough to be ‘in touch with reality’– is defined at base as ‘mass agreement’ (per L.Ron Hubbard? I think), then call me a crazy who is NOT in mass agreement! Now if only this plan were based more on food and other practical things, than on state currencies and armies, I’d call it visionary.

    Of course, all cultures over time have developed arts of self-defense on the social scale–which we call ‘armies’ now–but those were not composed of people segregated into a distinct group existing solely for that purpose. Everyone had to learn skills of self/group defense, and be ready to put those skills to use at any time.

    In any event, Wyoming is pretty much ahead of the curve on this one, I think–if not in the kind of vision-making I’d like to see, they’re at least paying attention to the state of US and worldwide problems. That’s a start.

  6. MackK says

    Well, I don’t know about becoming a survivalist haven given the number of nuclear weapons and military targets in Wyoming but it surely should have a plan given the same.

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