Earlier this year, residents in scenic Livingston, Montana, learned that a large section of public land on the outskirts of their town was slated to be auctioned for oil and gas development. For a town that thrives on outdoor recreation, the idea of fracking pads sandwiched between the banks of the Yellowstone River and the iconic Livingston Peak was nearly unthinkable.
But, thanks to the tireless work of some dedicated local organizers, the town banded together to fight back – and they won. This summer, Secretary Zinke announced that he was deferring the Livingston parcels from the sale.
I decided to talk with folks in Livingston to see what we can learn about their successful campaign. If public opposition won a reprieve for Livingston, could it do the same for other communities? How can we keep more drilling and fracking from spoiling our mountains and harming our wildlife?
Here are their stories:
Michelle is a mother, lawyer, and community organizer. Her organization, the Park County Environmental Council, spearheaded the campaign to fight leases in town.
Rob is a lifelong Livingston resident whose family has hunted and fished local lands and rivers for generations.
Erica also works for the Park County Environmental Council. She believes that we need to start thinking differently about energy development.
Thomas' livelihood depends on Livingston's booming outdoor recreation economy. He thinks the development just isn't worth the risk.