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January 11, 2012
Contact: Kevin Coburn, Director of Communications

Author Rick Bass Discusses Keystone XL Pipeline at Green Mountain College

POULTNEY—As debate over the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline continues, Green Mountain College will host award-winning author and environmental activist Rick Bass for a public talk on January 30 at 6 p.m. in the Gorge (in Withey Hall). His talk will be based on his 2010 book The Heart of the Monster: Why the Pacific Northwest & Northern Rockies Must Not Become an ExxonMobil Conduit to the Alberta Tar Sands co-authored by David James Duncan.

He will also read from his nature writings on January 31 at 12:30 p.m. in the College’s Griswold Library. Both events are free and open to the public.

The 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline would carry oil from tar sands in western Canada to refineries in Texas, passing through several states including Bass’ home state of Montana. In preparation for the project, oil companies are transporting massive mining equipment through Montana on narrow roads that run through vulnerable wilderness areas.

Concerned about the environmental damage, Bass and his co-author Duncan postponed other writing projects to write The Heart of the Monster. In a Northwest Book Lovers interview Bass said: “The book was a steep learning curve for me. I had to shift from my long-time efforts to help protect wilderness areas in a little million-acre valley in Northwest Montana—the Yaak—to a story with global implications. The Heart of the Monster isn’t just about Idaho and Montana. It’s about corporate power in America, about salmon and grizzlies and species extinction . . . it’s a story that pits irreversible global warming versus the integrity of wilderness.”

Bass has published and edited over 25 books, including nonfiction, essays, short stories and novels. He was born in Fort Worth, Tex., the son of a geologist. Bass received a B.S. in geology at Utah State University and started writing short stories on his lunch breaks while working as a petroleum geologist in Mississippi. In 1987, he moved with his wife, the artist Elizabeth Hughes, to the remote Yaak Valley in Montana where he has since worked to protect Montana’s wilderness areas from development and logging interests.

The recipient of grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts as well as a Lyndhurst Foundation fellowship, Bass has received an O. Henry Award and a Pushcart Prize, and his fiction has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories as well as numerous journals and magazines.

Bass was the speaker for Green Mountain College’s fourth annual Thomas L. Benson Lecture on April 20, 2011.

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