The human impacts of energy development–the case of Wyoming

Last year Alexandra Fuller had a remarkable article “Boomtown Blues” in the New Yorker about the effects of natural gas and oil development in Wyoming on the people and environment. Sobering story about how companies move in to rural areas and bring jobs and workers, but also drugs, alcohol, and prostitution.  Unfortunately I didn’t catch it in time to get a link to the on-line article (here is the abstract). I was thinking about it again during my trip last week to Ecuador, where hydroelectric development causes social and environmental distruction. Turns out Fuller has a new book out called The Legend of Colton H. Bryant which is the story of a young man who is killed working on a gas rig, and the New Yorker article is derived from the book. Fuller also has an op/ed article in the New York Times about Wyoming and energy development, and there is also a NYT article about her and the book.

I hope the complete New Yorker archive is on-line soon, because this is the kind of article I’d like to forward to my friends in Chile and Ecuador–it’s an American story of the downside to energy development–trading environment for jobs is not healthy for families or long term economic well-being. I’ll also put the book on my list.

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