Fracking Montana

First look

I sat next to a professor of physics at Montana State University on the flight into Bozeman, MT and, of course, we were talking fracking. He agreed with my common sense science regarding fracking and earthquakes. We marveled at the beauty below us—rivers that gleamed like liquid silver in the sun, endless green and those breathtakingly beautiful mountains. I warned him that fracking would place scars on the land that would never heal. As a frequent flyer, he already knew this from flying over Wyoming and Colorado.

This was my first look at Montana from the ground on the drive from Bozeman to Livingston.

Montana Woman For brought Denise Garrott and me to Montana to tell our stories of loss and share our experiences living on the front lines of fracking. We gave a series of presentations titled “Faces of Fracking: Stories From The Front Lines.”

Wilsall, Montana in the Shields Valley. 

Our first stop on Sunday, June 3rd, was Wilsall, MT where we spoke at the Wilsall Dance Hall (don’t miss the videos at that link) a unique facility that also serves as the convention center and main meeting area. WDH owner manager, Steve Palmer, played drums for Stepphenwolf Steppenwolf in the 80s. (Everybody in Montana used to be somebody. You can’t throw a rock without hitting someone famous.)

We had a good crowd in Wilsall with many concerned landowners who asked numerous questions. Wilsall is right smack-dab in the middle of Shields Valley where they want to frack. (See photo at that link.)

Fracking Shields Valley will leave scars on the land that look like the ones in THIS video from 2009 (the scars today are  much worse). Those scars can never be healed. Fracking is not the best use of the land in Shields Valley.

Bozeman, Montana

Our next presentation was Monday, June 4th, during noon at the Bozeman library. We weren’t expecting many people to give up their lunch time on a work day to hear about fracking but surprisingly we ran out of space for chairs and people kept coming.

I had to talk faster than this Texan likes to talk to get all the ground covered so folks could get back to work on time. Montana time must be similar to Mexico time because they lingered for a long while asking question after question. The hardest question to answer: “How can we stop it?”

Livingston, Montana

In the evening of June 4th we did a presentation in Livingston. Again, it was a well attended event with lots of great questions asked.

I would like to live in Livingston and visit Bozeman, Wilsall and Yellowstone often. I’m not yet famous enough for Livingston although Range Resources has helped me out quite a bit with my popularity.

Fracking Montana

If there is a more beautiful place on this earth than Montana, I don’t need to see it because Montana satisfies me. The beauty there is the most valuable natural resource that state holds. Fracking will destroy that beauty FOREVER. Fracking is not the best and highest use of the land especially considering they will create a zone of extraction in Shields Valley and ship the fracked gas to Asia.

Fracking and drilling is not new to Montana but it is new to the Shields Valley. Considering what we now know about the damage caused to our vital natural resources and our climate, the serious health impacts, the overblown promises of riches and jobs, the current depressed prices caused by a gas glut and the plan to mine domestic shale gas for exportation to Asia, fracking should not expand into any new areas.

BONUS: Yellowstone National Park

On June 5th, we took the day off for a quick tour of the Yellowstone. I have no words to describe what I saw but I think it is summed up well in the words over the entrance.

A big Texas THANK YOU to the Montana Women For and especially to Linda and Margo for all your efforts to get the fracking message to Montanans and for your hospitality, generosity and friendship.

Photos and video

About Sharon Wilson

Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.


  1. says

    Thanks Sharron
    It’s was great to have hosted the Fracking Event here in Wilsall.
    2 small corrections on your news letter if you can…
    Steppenwolf spelling.
    Owner of the Dance Hall is Careen Cardin…
    Please keep in touch with me it was a pleasure working with you all..
    Best Regards
    Steven Palmer