Researching Junction, Utah, with the support of the Ellen Meloy Fund for Desert Writers (http://www.ellenmeloy.com/), heightened my awareness of the controversies inherent in government agency oversight of public lands in the Uintah Basin, northeast Utah. This New York Times article sums up the oil-drilling scene in that state very well:
It’s a conflict between short-term prosperity for some and long-term preservation of a universally important wilderness.
Those of us who love the basin for its wildness and solace, qualities we despair over losing in the West, know that our thirst for oil threatens these life-saving elements of the outdoors.
I began work on Junction decades ago to use story to bring light to these little-known, endangered places. My work progressed slowly as I struggled with learning the novel form, but the book is scheduled for release within weeks. Today, in 2012, the controversies on those public lands are better known and, yes, even written about in journals like the New York Times.