Niobrara Oral History Project

Back in March 2012, we blogged about a unique oral history project being conducted by the AHC’s Simpson Institute archivist Leslie Waggener.  We’d like to now give you another update on this undertaking.

As you may recall, this oral history project is being conducted in an area of potential oil development in Wyoming’s Niobrara Shale, a shale rock formation that not only covers the southeast portion of Wyoming but also Northeast Colorado, Northwest Kansas, and Southwest Nebraska.  From 2009 through 2010, companies were busy leasing land for future drilling.  Activity has still not picked up Goshen, Platte and Laramie counties, but Converse County has seen a large increase in drilling.  Community members have heard some in the oil industry compare the Niobrara Play to North Dakota’s booming Bakken shale formation, although others in the industry feel that view is far too optimistic. So, community members are left wondering – is a boom on our horizon?

With funding from the UW School of Energy Resources and expert assistance from Ali Grossman of UW Television, we can now bring you a 39-minute video overview that provides a glimpse into the information we’re receiving from the now over 50 interviews.  This video contains  a sampling of opinions; the project in its entirety provides an in-depth look into the experiences of people who anticipate energy development in their backyard, or are in the midst of experiencing it’s beginnings.

–Leslie Waggener, Simpson Institute Archivist

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