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Under the Surface: Fracking, Fortunes, and the Fate of the Marcellus Shaleby Tom Wilber
Synopses & Reviews
For more than forty years the prairies of South Dakota have been Dan OBriens home. Working as a writer and an endangered-species biologist, he became convinced that returning grass-fed, free-roaming buffalo to the grasslands of the northern plains would return natural balance to the region and reestablish the undulating prairie lost through poor land management and overzealous farming. In 1998 he bought his first buffalo and began the task of converting a little cattle ranch into an ethically run buffalo ranch.
Wild Idea is a book about how good food choices can influence federal policies and the integrity of our food system, and about the dignity and strength of a legendary American animal. It is also a book about people: the daughter coming to womanhood in a hard landscape, the friend and ranch hand who suffers great tragedy, the venture capitalist who sees hope and opportunity in a struggling buffalo business, and the husband and wife behind the ranch who struggle daily, wondering if what they are doing will ever be enough to make a difference. At its center, Wild Idea is about a family and the people and animals that surround them—all trying to build a healthy life in a big, beautiful, and sometimes dangerous land.
"Few ecological concerns are so controversial as hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking,' the process by which chemicals are pumped deep into the earth to retrieve natural gas from buried shale deposits. Across Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, pro- and anti-fracking forces are marshaling their constituencies for a showdown. Opponents argue that the process will ruin major water supplies, while advocates see huge resources of energy and the prospect of dazzling wealth. Wilbur, a former environmental reporter who has been covering the fracking debate from the beginning, combines a storyteller's ear with a journalist's eye, offering a sensitive and especially timely take on the issue. Here, the villains that emerge include the landmen, buyers of mineral rights who show up on doorsteps throughout the region offering tempting buyouts, while for heroes, we are introduced to neighbors, such as Victoria Switzer and Ken Ely, two very different people thrown together in the fight to save their homes, and others who took the money offered by the developers and moved on. In the most inspiring passages, Wilbur tells how the residents of New York's Southern Tier and Pennsylvania's Endless Mountains, organized, fought, and participated in countless meetings and government hearings to determine the future of their homes and land. This book will be essential background reading for the still-unfolding fracking drama." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Dan OBrien is the author of numerous novels and memoirs, including Buffalo for the Broken Heart: Restoring Life to a Black Hills Ranch, winner of the Western Heritage Award for best nonfiction. His books Stolen Horses, Equinox, The Indian Agent, and The Contract Surgeon are available from the University of Nebraska Press.
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