Wyoming Arts Council

"The New Gold Rush" exhibit on display Nov. 13-Dec. 30 at Teton County Library

From a press release:

Geologist and SkyTruth founder, John Amos uses satellite imagery to track the pace and scale of changes sweeping Wyoming’s open range during what’s been dubbed “The New Gold Rush.”

Today, the fever is for natural gas. Amos will illustrate how America’s thirst for energy is changing Wyoming’s landscape with “A Sky View of Wyoming Gas Drilling” on Saturday, Nov. 15 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the Teton County Library Ordway Auditorium in Jackson. Free and open to the public, the program is sponsored by the Teton County Library Foundation.

Amos is one of four artists, who paint a portrait of the people and the place being crisscrossed by pipelines, roads, wellpads and other changes from drilling in northern Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. Their work is displayed in the exhibition: “The New Gold Rush: Images of Coalbed Methane,” on display in the library’s Exhibit Gallery during regular hours from November 13 through December 30. The exhibit combines the satellite images by Amos with photography by Ann Fuller, Patrick Smith and Ted Wood.

The exhibit was developed by the Ucross Foundation and Powder River Basin Resource Council, which will present “In My Backyard: Living with Coalbed Methane in the Powder River Basin” on Wednesday, December 3 from 6-7 p.m. in the Ordway Auditorium. Resource Council members and landowners will describe what it’s like to live in a land rich in natural gas and efforts to protect the land, air, water and wildlife. This program is free and open to the public.

According to Amos, energy consumers often are unaware of the environmental costs of drilling, which are increasingly borne by western lands and residents. “As long as energy is cheap, nobody is talking about it. As long as a few ranchers are the ones being impacted by it, nobody cares,” he says.

In addition to highlighting changes in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, Amos will show satellite images and photographs of drilling underway around Pinedale, in the Upper Green River Basin, and in the Altlantic Rim, south of Rawlins. He also will present simulations of what drilling could look like in the Wyoming Range.

“As a society, we’re not so good at making rational decisions about this because we don’t have all the information as to what the benefits and costs are of this activity,” Amos says. Amos said he hopes to educate consumers, especially in cities, about how their energy consumption impacts western lands.

After earning a graduate degree from the University of Wyoming, Amos worked for 10 years as a consultant for the energy industry and government. He started SkyTruth, a nonprofit based in West Virginia, specializing in using satellite imagery to illustrate the landscape-scale impacts of drilling, mining, logging and other activities.

Library exhibits and programs are sponsored by the Teton County Library Foundation. For information on library programs, contact the Adult Humanities Coordinator, Oona Doherty, at 733-2164 ext. 135.

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