Cover image for Amity and Prosperity : one family and the fracturing of America
Amity and Prosperity : one family and the fracturing of America
Griswold, Eliza, 1973- author.
First edition.
Physical Description:
318 pages ; 24 cm
"Stacey Haney is a local nurse working hard to raise two kids and keep up her small farm when the fracking boom comes to her hometown of Amity, Pennsylvania. Intrigued by reports of lucrative natural gas leases in her neighbors' mailboxes, she strikes a deal with a Texas-based energy company. Soon trucks begin rumbling past her small farm, a fenced-off drill site rises on an adjacent hilltop, and domestic animals and pets start to die. When mysterious sicknesses begin to afflict her children, she appeals to the company for help. Its representatives insist that nothing is wrong. Alarmed by her children's illnesses, Haney joins with neighbors and a committed husband-and-wife legal team to investigate what's really in the water and air. Against local opposition, Haney and her allies doggedly pursue their case in court and begin to expose the damage that's being done to the land her family has lived on for centuries. Soon a community that has long been suspicious of outsiders faces wrenching new questions about who is responsible for their fate, and for redressing it: The faceless corporations that are poisoning the land? The environmentalists who fail to see their economic distress? A federal government that is mandated to protect but fails on the job? Drawing on seven years of immersive reporting, Griswold reveals what happens when an imperiled town faces a crisis of values, and a family wagers everything on an improbable quest for justice."


Call Number
Material Type
Corning - Southeast Steuben County Library 1 363.73 GRI Adult NonFiction Book
Elmira - Steele Memorial Library 1 363.73 GRI New NonFiction Book
Horseheads Free Library 1 363.73 GRI Adult NonFiction Book
Watkins Glen Public Library 1 363.73 GRI Adult NonFiction Book

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In Amity and Prosperity, the prizewinning poet and journalist Eliza Griswold exposes the tattered edges of the social fabric in rural America. In a work rich with narrative suspense, she explores the volatile personalities and politics of a small Allegheny town that has an abundance of natural gas but no municipal water supply. The result is a definitive guide to the fracking debate, and to the larger social and environmental hazards that are upending rural America.Stacey Haney, a lifelong resident of Amity, Pennsylvania, is struggling to support her children when the fracking boom comes to town. Like most of her neighbors, she sees the energy companies' payments as a windfall. Soon trucks are rumbling down her unpaved road and a fenced-off fracking site rises on adjacent land. But her annoyance gives way to concern and then to fear as domestic animals and pets begin dying and mysterious illnesses strike her family--despite the companies' insistence that nothing is wrong. Griswold masterfully chronicles Haney's transformation into an unlikely whistle-blower as she launches her own investigation into corporate wrongdoing. As she takes her case to court, Haney inadvertently reveals the complex rifts in her community and begins to reshape its attitudes toward outsiders, corporations, and the federal government. Amity and Prosperity uses her gripping and moving tale to show the true costs of our energy infrastructure and to illuminate the predicament of rural America in the twenty-first century.

Author Notes

Eliza Griswold, a Guggenheim fellow, is the author of a collection of poems, Wideawake Field, and a nonfiction book, The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam, a New York Times bestseller that was awarded the J. Anthony Lukas Prize. She is the translator of I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The names Amity and Prosperity conjure up images of tranquility and abundance, and, indeed, historically, the good life was found within these southwestern Pennsylvania towns. Where once coal was king, now hydraulic fracking rules the day, with mining companies competing for rights to drill into the Marcellus Shale's abundant natural-gas reserves. Along with other landowners, single-mother Stacey Haney wrestled with her conscience before signing a lease with Range Resources to drill on her land. She was working multiple jobs to raise two teens and running a farm on her own, so the promised windfall would have been welcome. But when her son manifests a series of inexplicable ailments and farm animals unexpectedly die, Haney painstakingly traces the source of the illnesses back to the water and air pollution generated by the fracking sites. Stonewalled by the mining company, shunned by her community, Haney only finds hope and help with a husband-and-wife legal team willing to take on this powerful adversary. Griswold's (The Tenth Parallel, 2010) empathetic yet analytical account of Haney's indefatigable role as advocate for justice is a thorough and thoroughly blood-pressure-­raising account of the greed and fraud embedded in the environmentally ruinous natural-gas industry. As honest and unvarnished an account of the human cost of corporate corruption as one will find.--Haggas, Carol Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Journalist Griswold (The Tenth Parallel) comprehensively examines the circumstances surrounding the lawsuit that Stacey Haney, a nurse and single mother, filed against energy company Range Resources. The book opens with an account of the shale gas boom of the mid-2000s, when fracking (hydraulic fracturing) brought unexpected windfalls to financially distressed towns on the border of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, including Haney's hometown, Amity, and the neighboring town of Prosperity in rural Pennsylvania. Residents welcomed the money from mineral leases, using it to pay for needed roofs and fences. Haney did, too, until her son, Hartley, was hospitalized for fatigue and tested positive for high levels of arsenic in his blood, which they believed was due to runoff from the fracking on a nearby property. When Haney and her daughter, Paige, got tested, they too were diagnosed with arsenic poisoning. The community reacted to the news and Haney's subsequent lawsuit with suspicion and animosity, accusing Haney of "acting out of hysteria." Griswold combines Haney's perspective with those of her attorneys, John Smith and Kendra Smith, during the years-long legal saga, which was settled for an undisclosed amount in early 2018. With empathy and diligence, Griswold brings attention to the emotional and financial tolls Haney and her family endured in this revealing portrait of rural America in dire straits. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Fracking, the extraction of natural gas from rocks up to one mile deep, made some residents of the small, impoverished western Pennsylvania towns of Amity and Prosperity, rich, while others became victims of potentially fatal environmental hazards. Griswold (The Tenth Parallel) offers a compelling portrayal of Stacey Haney and her fight against fracking operation Range Resources, whose secretive activities unleashed airborne toxins and poisoned ponds that killed Haney's farm animals, sickened neighbors, and nearly took the life of her son, Harley. Deep research into court records and interviews with family members and neighbors, many of whom turned against Haney, a single mother and nurse, make for a compelling family tragedy narrative. Descriptions of the various individuals are memorable, although Griswold's recounting of Haney v. Range Resources (2013) gets bogged down in detail. This precedent-setting trial was not decided until 2018. -VERDICT An important addition to the emerging genre of works about fracking and its environmental and human costs. This will find large audiences among concerned citizens and warrants the attention of public officials as well as fans of J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy.-Karl Helicher, formerly with Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Mapsp. viii
A Notep. 3
Prologuep. 7
Part I Hoopies
1 Fair 2010p. 11
2 When The Boom Beganp. 18
3 The Mess Next Doorp. 29
4 Arsenipp. 37
5 Airbornep. 46
6 Hoopiesp. 55
7 "One Head & One Heart, & Live in True Friendship & Amity as One People"p. 62
8 Doubtersp. 68
9 Hang 'Em Highp. 78
10 Blood and Urinep. 85
11 Airportp. 97
Part II Burden of Proof
12 "Mr. and Mrs. Atticus Pinch"p. 105
13 Mutual Distrustp. 123
14 Buzzp. 131
15 Missing Pagesp. 136
16 Rainbow Waterp. 142
17 "Dear Mr. President"p. 148
18 Insurgentsp. 155
19 Burden of Proofp. 159
20 Policing the Statep. 165
21 What Money Doesp. 174
22 Ruin Is The Destination Toward Which All Men Rushp. 193
23 Remote Peoplep. 200
24 Ignorant Motherfuckersp. 208
25 A Special Agentp. 219
26 Full Metal Jacketp. 225
Part III The Right to Clean Air and Pure Water
27 The Right to Clean Air and Pure Waterp. 235
28 Dreamsp. 243
29 Closing Down The Pondsp. 248
30 Chasing Ghostsp. 259
31 "The Junkyard Plaintiff"p. 266
32 Divap. 270
33 Fair 2016p. 278
Epilogue: White Hatsp. 289
Postscriptp. 301
A Note On Sourcesp. 307
Notesp. 309
Acknowledgmentsp. 317

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