Author Archive

“It’s the Wild F*ing West Out There”

Climate Desk: ON A CLOUDY spring morning, Ethan Ritter sat behind the wheel of a dump truck, lost in the maze of oil rigs northeast of Williston, North Dakota. Ritter, then 21, was hauling a load of gravel for his brother, who was doing road construction. He made a full stop at the tracks; there were no boom gates, only a crossing sign. His CB radio was off and all was quiet. Ritter looked both ways, then eased on the gas and headed into the crossing. Next thing he knew, a Burlington Northern Santa Fe engine...