Proposed energy resource development in the arid western United States raises a number of potential problems for an environment that does not have a great deal of resiliency. Projected population increases associated with large-scale development activities may go beyond the capacity of small, isolated rural communities to absorb them; and constraints on western agricultural and industrial development—for example, demands for water already exceeding the supply available—also limit energy development. The authors of this wide-ranging book first evaluate western energy resources, then objectively discuss the consequences of development on the region’s physical and social environments. Among the questions they consider are: Who will reap the economic benefits of development, and who will bear the environmental costs? What will be the effects on the environment? The social structure? The quality of life? Are open spaces a national treasure in their present form, or should they be regarded as space available for development? What are the unique demands of reclamation in the arid west? And, given the recent trend of western states-rights militancy and shifts of population to the southwest, what impact will new federal and state policies have on resource management?
About the Series -- Introduction -- Paradoxes in the Implementation of Environmental Regulations and Energy Resource Development Policies -- An Overview of the Issues -- Energy Development: A Western Perspective -- Environmental Regulations: The Western Energy Case -- What Has Happened to Enforcement of Environmental Regulations? -- Western Energy Resources -- An Overview of the Nation’s Treasurehouse -- Wyoming, an Example of Western Coal Development -- Significance of Recent Oil and Gas Discoveries in the Western Thrust Belt of the United States -- Oil Shale: A Resource Whose Time Has Come? -- Use of Environmental Resources -- The Role of Water in Energy Development -- Clean Air and Energy: From Conflict to Reconciliation -- Energy Development: A Challenge for Environmental Planning -- The Social and Economic Impacts of Western Energy Development -- An Overview of the Social Science Research -- Paradoxes of Western Energy Development: Socio-Cultural Factors -- An Assessment of the Accuracy and Utility of Socioeconomic Impact Assessments -- Energy Developments in the Arid West: Consequences for Native Americans -- Closing Comments: Resources and the Environment