A lament for open range

 

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