Terry Tempest Williams, Utah’s best known environmental writer, left her faculty position in the University of Utah Environmental Humanities Program after what she called “painful and humiliating” negotiations and a lack of transparency. In a resignation letter that she made public, Williams said she believes her dismissal was related to her purchase of BLM Oil and Gas leases on February 16, 2016. She intended to use the leases as part of a student project to explore the implications of public lands energy development.
“Life surprises us,” she wrote. “One bold action sets other actions in motion. In the end, both our BLM decision and my decision to leave the University of Utah are decisions about energy: how we choose to define it, where we feel we receive energy and where we feel energy is being drained. For me, it is not about money or security. It is about what feels right. I am paying attention and not only trusting my heart, but following it. It is not without sadness.”
Amy Brunvand is a librarian at the J. Willard Marriott Library where she specializes in government information.