Chris Drury, a British artist, created this sculpture, entitled Carbon Sink: What Goes Around Comes Around, to express the idea that (JUST POSSIBLY) Wyoming's coal industry and its contributions to climate change had something to do with the explosion of pine beetles in the state. (Warmer winters have allowed them to thrive.)
The sculpture happens to be installed at the University of Wyoming, which receives just a tiiiiiny bit of funding from the coal industry, like only a couple million dollars. If the university's leaders thought principles of academic freedom and artistic expression would give them a pass on this one, they don’t know the coal industry very well. Here's what the industry and its supporters in the state legislature had to say about the sculpture:
Marion Loomis, the director of the Wyoming Mining Association: "They get millions of dollars in royalties from oil, gas and coal to run the university, and then they put up a monument attacking me, demonizing the industry."
State Rep. Tom Lubnau: "While I would never tinker with the University of Wyoming budget – I'm a great supporter of the University of Wyoming – every now and then, you have to use these opportunities to educate some of the folks at the University of Wyoming about where their paychecks come from."
In other words: If you know what’s good for you, University of Wyoming, you will put a MUCH more flattering sculpture of us on your lawn. Otherwise you might wake up with a pine beetle head in your bed, if you get the picture.
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