You are here: home   Issues   The Other Bakken Boom   A lament for open range
Topic: Energy     Department: Letters

A lament for open range

Document Actions

Thanks to Jonathan Thompson for pointing out that there is more nastiness involved in the drilling and production of natural gas than fracking (HCN, 3/19/12, "A fresh focus on frack attacks").  Once-open Western rangelands have been transformed into industrial slums, complete with contaminated water and air. Habitats have been destroyed and wildlife populations displaced or eliminated. And then there's the crime, drugs and mayhem that go hand-in-hand with a boom.

Energy companies transform communities into something of their own making. They donate to this cause and that, purchasing allegiance for the destruction of the landscape and its inhabitants.  They infiltrate local politics, swooning small-time officials. And they announce what "good neighbors" they are with full-page ads in the local newspapers. Those who advocate for unlimited, unrestricted gas and oil development have no awareness and/or no concern for the other values that are sacrificed.

Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam,
Where the natural gas comes from steers,
Where the sky is smog free and where all I can see
Is the drillers' southbound speeding rears.

Home, home on the range,
Where the antelope once had their ways,
Where now we all choke on drilling rig smoke
And industrial slums meet our gaze.

John Fandek
Cora, Wyoming

Email Newsletter

The West in your Inbox

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Follow our RSS feeds!
  1. The death of backpacking? | Younger people don’t seem interested in this out...
  2. A graceful gazelle becomes a pest | Inrroducing an African gazelle called the oryx for...
  3. What's killing the Yukon's salmon? | An ecological mystery in Alaska has scientists and...
  4. Plains sense | Ten years after Frank and Deborah Popper first pro...
  5. North Dakota wrestles with radioactive oilfield waste | Regulators look at raising the limit for radiation...
HCN Classifieds
Subscriber Alert
More from Energy
On booms and their remains A North Dakota photographer returns home to examine changes to the landscape.
Efficiency lessons from Germany
The Latest: Mining battle update at Utah’s Tavaputs Plateau State supreme court gives green light to tar sands permits.
All Energy
© 2014 High Country News, all rights reserved. | privacy policy | terms of use | powered by Plone