public health

Joshua Doubek, Wikimedia Commons

The current oil and gas boom, fueled by a technique called hydraulic fracturing, has opened massive shale gas and oil formations in states like Texas, Colorado, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania.

But unlike past booms, this time drilling is bumping right up against communities. With oil and gas development now at their doorsteps, people are worried about the health impacts.

But the industry has taken off so quickly that scientific research about those impacts - which is timely, costly, and complex - is playing catch up.

Willow Belden

Interim Oil and Gas Supervisor Mark Watson says he's making it a priority to review Wyoming's setback rules.

Setback rules govern how close oil and gas development can be to things like houses and streams. The current limit is 350 feet.

At an Oil and Gas Commission meeting Tuesday night in Casper, several residents said they'd like to see the distance raised to a mile, because of concerns about potential health impacts of energy production. Watson says they're asking a lot.

Josh and Susan Anderson—Evanston natives who met only after they were both going to college in Utah—work for the Uinta County school district. In this story, the couple talks about how they arrived at their vocations.

Both of the Andersons’ children were born in Jackson—the closest hospital to their home at the time, and more than a two hour drive away. Naturally, this left the couple with some wild stories about childbirth on the frontier.