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Life In Oil And Gas Boom Towns On Wednesday's Access Utah

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The oil and gas industry has increased by 40 percent in the past seven years across the United States, leading to dramatic growth some areas. Duchesne County, for example, is the second fastest growing county in the U.S. compared to counties of similar size.

Boom towns are being affected in everything from air quality and housing prices, to increased population, new businesses and jobs. Our guests will include Jesse Higgins, a Licensed Couple & Family Therapist, who moved to Vernal 4 years ago at the beginning of the boom. He is noticing a deterioration in air quality, increased stresses on families, and an uptick in substance abuse; Emily Lierle, a young woman who has moved for the summer from Arizona to Williston, North Dakota to work on a farm and at the local newspaper. She’ll talk about what it’s like to be one of the few women in that area; and Jerry Burnes, News Editor at the Williston Herald. We want to know how you’re being affected by ramped-up oil and gas extraction in your area. How has your town been affected? Do you migrate for at least part of the year for work in one of these areas? What benefits are you experiencing? Drawbacks?

Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.