For the last six years local activists have focused on developing a responsible approach to oil and gas drilling in the rural West, places like Stillwater and Carbon counties in Montana. Our argument has been that we need to act in advance of drilling to make sure that we are not overrun by heavy industry that is poorly regulated in Montana. We have struggled to work with local officials, who have not always been responsive to this approach.
Dr. Julia Haggerty, professor of geography at MSU, is an expert in this area. She has done extensive research on the communities of the West and how they respond to change. In her presentation, at the Absarokee Cobblestone School at 7pm on Tuesday, May 21, she will explore, using energy development as her subject, how local rural communities can cope with change that can transform a region in an instant. The event is free to the public. Refreshments will be served.
She argues that local government has changed in nature over the last few decades, making it very difficult to cope with major economic shifts. Her fundamental message is that like it or not, local communities have to rely on their own resources to cope with rapid change. She gives examples of how local government and local citizens’ groups have risen to the challenge by forming organizations and policies to contend with geographic, economic and social change. Sometimes they have been successful and other times not, and she notes the success factors that separate communities.
Her presentations are down to earth and easy to understand, and she has partnered with photographer Chris Boyer to take spectacular photos that illustrate the change she is talking about.
Come on out to learn and talk to your neighbors about this important issue.