Press Play to start audio

February 25, 2008

Split Estate


Wyoming is in the midst of a natural gas boom. But Bill and Marge West aren't happy about it. Their ranch was once 13,000 acres of quiet grazing lands and hay meadows. Now it's dotted with power lines and natural gas wells.

Bill and Marge never asked for any of this - but a complicated set of laws giving the government and private companies mineral rights left them no choice.

The results have been far worse than they ever feared they would be: their creek beds are now flooded, their hay meadows and old cottonwood trees are destroyed, and their supply of drinking water is ruined.

Marge talks with Dick Gordon about how the land has been changed. She says that she recognizes the importance of domestic energy production—she just wishes the energy companies would slow down and do it right.


Captain Ed Montgomery had his first bout with cancer in the spring of 2005, and as an ex-fighter and a tugboat captain, he was never one to show much emotion. 

But being diagnosed with cancer three times has changed the way Ed feels about life. As his battle raged into the winter of 2006, his wife Jeannie became the tough one. Ed was most shocked, though, by how one friend in particular really came through during the dark times. "Big Butch" works closely with Ed on the docks. Butch checked in regularly with Ed, and even came to the hospital to keep Ed up to date on the shipping news.

Ed is now in remission. Both Butch and Ed talk with Dick about how guys relate to other guys during times of crisis.

You might also like…

Daily Story Update

Get daily updates and special announcements about The Story.

Produced by

WUNC North Carolina Public Radio 91.5 logo