Community Issues

Book About Family's Fracking Struggle Wins Pulitzer Prize

One of two Pulitzers awarded this year tied to Western Pennsylvania.


Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America, a 2018 book by journalist Eliza Griswold on the impact fracking had on a Washington County (PA) family, has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize. It won in the general nonfiction category.

...a classic American story, grippingly told... Pulitzer Prize Board

As described in its Amazon flyleaf, Amity and Prosperity "tells the story of the energy boom's impact on a small town at the edge of Appalachia and one woman's transformation from a struggling single parent to an unlikely activist."

That woman is Stacey Haney, a single mother of two and a resident of Amity, a small rural town south of Washington, PA. Haney initially thought it would help her family financially if she leased part of their farm for fracking, the process of extracting natural gas from shale rock that lies under the property. When Haney and her children got sick and their animals started dying, she suspected fracking was to blame. She and her neighbors filed suit against the natural gas company and later settled.

Author Griswold is humble about winning the Pulitzer. "I'd just say that this is really about the people who shared their lives with me on both sides of that issue, and the story and the prize belongs to them," Griswold said in an email message to the Washington Observer Reporter newspaper .

Amity and Prosperity was one of two Pulitzer Prizes awarded this year tied to news stories in the Pittsburgh region. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was awarded a Pulitzer in the breaking news reporting category for its coverage of the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood in October.

The Pulitzer Prizes honor achievements in journalism, literature and music.

(Image: National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Natural Resource Program Center)

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