Funding For The Future: A Case Study Of Sublette County’s Elected Officials And Their Initiative To Fund Socioeconomic Impacts

Mary Hogarty, SIT Gradaute Institute


For the last decade Sublette County, Wyoming has experienced a “boom” in natural gas extraction and production. While this industry has expanded the local economy and provided new jobs in the area, it has caused a number of negative socioeconomic impacts as well. A dramatic increase in population has caused, among other things, an increased rate of traffic, crime and strain on the local infrastructure. Typically, an increase in population generates sufficient tax and income to pay for its demands. This is not the case in Sublette County. Here, the towns impacted by natural resource extraction are not generating or given adequate funding from the state or the industry to deal with the increased number of socioeconomic needs and health/safety projects brought on by the dramatic increase of industry related development.

This case study describes the engagement of Sublette County’s elected officials in an advocacy initiative designed to urge the participation of the state and energy operators to fund infrastructure projects and socioeconomic needs brought on by the natural gas industry. It discusses the actors, the context in which they operate and their goal to seek out and receive funding to mitigate unmet socioeconomic impacts. The paper then explains and analyzes the targets and strategies used in the initiative. Lastly, the paper addresses the initiative’s effectiveness and its applicability to future advocacy initiatives and campaigns.