WY Gas-Images at WPN

October 28th, 2005

Images online and licenseable at: World Picture News.

In August I spent about two weeks working in Sublette County, Wyoming,(map) a sweeping expanse of sagebrush populated by a meager 6400 permanent residents. In spite of its lack of inhabitants, Sublette is a cash cow for one of the nation’s poorest states. The reason is a natural gas boom accompanied by a real estate boom.

With domestic energy production placed at a premium by our current administration, and an increasing demand and price for natural gas–one of the cleanest burning fossil fuels–for power generation and heating, the ‘new’ cost-effective technologies employed in the Pinedale Anticline and Jonah Field have gas companies rushing to maximize profit from their leases. An onslaught of subcontractors is hammering the county’s few paved highways and multitude of dirt roads.

Alongside this boon for the county’s coffers is an wild real estate market. Because of the scenic ‘view sheds’ and rural character of the communities, towns like Pinedale, the county seat, are finding themselves struggling with skyrocketing housing prices and realtor offices on nearly every corner. The saying around town is that all the billionaires of nearby Jackson Hole are pushing all the millionaires out of town–and they’re all moving to Pinedale because home prices still average less than $1 million.

During my stint in August, I tried to tell this story with still imagery and audio.

See the stills online at: World Picture News.

And soon, I hope, we’ll have the multimedia online.

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