From 1973 into the 1980s, Frank Odasz lobbied tirelessly on behalf of Energy Transportation Systems, Inc. (ETSI), a consortium of energy and engineering companies interested in building a coal slurry pipeline from mines in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin to power plants in Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. According to a WyoHistory report, Odasz actively reached out to the environmental community, which explained why ETSI did not face as much opposition from that corner as other coal slurry pipeline proposals around at the same time.
This week, WyoFile reported on the resurfacing of a coal slurry pipeline idea, the brainchild of state senator Michael Von Flatern (R, S-24, Gillette)
What eventually killed ETSI was the railroads, who did not want to see their coal-hauling business go to a pipeline. And in that fight, a political throwdown between two of Wyoming’s oldest political influencers–energy and railroad companies, Odasz squared off against Wyoming’s then U.S. congressman, Teno Roncalio of Rock Springs, who supported the railroads.
But it was far from all political vitriol, at least according to Dan Whipple, who wrote about the subject for WyoHistory:
“Roncalio was a strong supporter of the railroads. He and ETSI representative Odasz engaged in vigorous debates on the topic. Both were also serious competitive tennis players. Odasz once suggested to Roncalio that “we show them how politics is done in Wyoming” by partnering as a doubles team in a state tennis match. The two did, and won their division.”