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Niobrara Overview

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Published on Jul 31, 2014

The University of Wyoming’s (UW) School of Energy Resources (SER), in collaboration with the UW American Heritage Center’s Alan K. Simpson Institute for Western Politics and Leadership and UW Television, conducted an oral history program that explored the social, environmental, and economic impacts of a potential oil boom in Wyoming communities within the Niobrara Shale Formation Simpson Institute archivist Leslie Waggener was the program director and conducted the oral history interviews. The program was carried out in a “pre-boom” stage when the Niobrara Oil Play in Wyoming was considered to be a potentially significant area of development. More than sixty-five video oral history interviews were conducted with those involved in, and impacted by, the activities to develop and extract the state’s oil resources in the Niobrara area. Interviewees included landowners, ranchers, town leaders, business owners, social services personnel, school administrators, industry personnel and others. All of the interviews are transcribed and available at the American Heritage Center. Currently, the AHC is working on a finding aid to these materials that will allow public access to the video files and the transcripts through the UW online library catalog.
One of three central components of the UW School of Energy Resources is public outreach. The Niobrara Oil Play oral history project was established to provide raw perspectives for Wyoming residents and officials, and scholars in various disciplines, to analyze the reactions and adjustments that occur as mostly rural communities prepare for expected opportunities and community impacts from nearby energy development. There is also a strong academic educational component to the interviews that can be of use in the high school community college, and university classrooms.

Principal Researcher, Interviewer and Project Director - Leslie Waggener, American Heritage Center | Camera Operator - Ali Grossman, UWTV | Editor - Conor Mullen | Music - J Shogren "Charlie Poole, Charlie Poole", "Helgagatan", "Well-fed Man", and "Curry"

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