Douglas

Stephanie Joyce

In case you hadn’t heard, the United States has been experiencing an oil boom for the last five years. The boom has helped the country’s economic recovery and created thousands of jobs for people in states like North Dakota, Wyoming and Texas. But although booms are often heralded for the economic opportunities they provide…they also have a darker side.

It’s almost two o’clock in the afternoon and the lunch rush at The Depot restaurant in Douglas, Wyoming is just beginning to taper off.

Melodie Edwards

There are currently over 4,000 abandoned uranium mines in remote corners of the US. Out of sight, but for people living nearby, not out of mind. Uranium produces radon, which is known to cause lung cancer. In 2012, uranium was found in the tap water on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Many say the time has come to clean up the mess. But that could cost billions. The Obama Administration is tackling the job by pushing for new fees on mining companies, but the industry says they’re too punishing. Now, new research could make uranium clean-up significantly cheaper.

I Love WPR Douglas Proclamation

Sep 17, 2014
City of Douglas and Wyoming Public Media
Miles Bryan

It’s not unusual for some employers in Wyoming to have a hard time finding enough workers. That can be a headache for business owners, but lately it’s the cause of some public safety concern as well. The Wyoming Highway Patrol is down almost twenty percent of its officers, and it is struggling to attract new ones.

wyomingtalesandtrails.com

Dick Sedar grew up in Casper, in a working-class neighborhood called “the Sandbar.” His parents emigrated from Croatia in the early 1920’s to seek work in the coal and oil industries. Dick was one of 16 children and tells the story of his childhood in Casper.

One of Dick’s Sedar’s brothers, Mike, worked in the Douglas Prisoner of War camp during World War II.  Dick remembers his brother’s experience working with the prisoners, and the lasting friendships he made.

Melodie Edwards

In 1986, a large mammoth rib bone was found jutting out of the bank of a creek a few miles from Douglas.  The state archaeologist, Dr. George Frison, did a hasty 4-day excavation at the time.  But a thorough excavation has never been done because the land owners weren’t interested in hosting an archaeology dig on their property.  That left archaeologists with a big question--was LaPrele Creek a mammoth kill site?  But recently the land sold and archaeologists have finally been allowed to dig. 

When there’s an energy boom, it usually brings an influx of workers into the area. And that leads to more demand for housing. That’s great for landlords who are looking to rent out their properties. But as some communities in Wyoming are finding, oil and gas drilling can actually be a problem for people who are looking to sell. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

WILLOW BELDEN: Rhonda Holdbrook owns a real estate firm in Douglas, and she’s exceptionally busy these days. Oil production in Converse County is booming, and energy workers have flocked to town.

Willow Belden

The head of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission says his agency will consider changing setback rules. Those are the rules that govern how far away oil and gas operations, such as wells, have to be from things like houses.

Grant Black spoke at a public meeting in Douglas last night. He says currently, the setback rule is the same, regardless of whether you’re dealing with a home or something else. But he says that could change.

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality has decided to keep an air quality monitor in Converse County for another year.

DEQ placed a mobile monitor near Douglas after residents voiced concerns about emissions from new energy development in the area. So far, there’s no indication that air quality standards have been violated, but there were several days with high pollution levels.

Typically, DEQ moves their mobile air quality monitors to new locations each year, but the agency’s Cara Keslar says they want to keep a close eye on this area.

Stephanie Joyce

Converse County is one of six counties in Wyoming with no land use regulations. When a proposal to develop zoning came up a decade ago, it went nowhere. But as development associated with the oil and gas boom in the Niobrara explodes, the county is struggling with questions of how to make sure it happens responsibly. And as Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports, some residents are starting to question the costs of not planning.

Wyoming Pioneer Museum – Douglas

Feb 13, 2013
Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites & Trails

Open year 'round, the Pioneer Memorial Museum is located on the Wyoming State Fairgrounds in Douglas, Wyoming. The museum collects, preserves, interprets and displays historical and cultural materials related to the westward expansion, to Wyoming pioneers in particular and the west in general.

Wyoming Public Media

Wyoming Public Media captured the oral history of Wyoming’s families, farms and ranches during the 2012 Wyoming State Fair. WPM set up a booth giving away fans for the hot summer day and did a live broadcast with Grady Kirkpatrick’s Morning Music featuring an acoustic performance from Wyoming’s Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band.  WPM recorded Wyoming Oral Histories of fairgoers that stopped by to chat. Enjoy a few of these engaging stories on the link below…

State Fair Interviews

High Plains Old Time Music Festival – Douglas

Feb 1, 2013
Courtesy Douglas Budget Newspaper, Adam Herrera

High Plains Old Time Music Festival is a two-day competition with the largest variety of categories in the region.  Some of the categories include: fiddle, vocal, banjo, vocals, piano, variety and guitar.  Preliminaries are on Saturday and the finals are on Sunday.  Over $3,000 will be offered in cash and prizes!  The dates for this year are April 13 and 14.


Chesapeake Energy told a crowd of nearly 200 people that Converse County will continue to be a hot spot for oil production.  The discussion was part of a public meeting last night in Douglas.

Chesapeake did not say how much oil production will actually occur in the area, but company officials and state regulators tried to allay concerns about the risks associated with flaring and fracking.

Chesapeake’s Sandy Andrew said the ingredients in frack fluid are largely benign.

Willow Belden

Chesapeake Energy is hosting a community meeting tomorrow about its future energy development plans in Converse County.

Chesapeake has drilled several oil wells around a residential subdivision just outside of Douglas, and one well blew out in the spring, spewing gas into the air.

Willow Belden

INTRO: This spring, an oil rig blew out near Douglas. Natural gas spewed into the air, and residents from a nearby neighborhood were evacuated for several days. Since the blowout, Chesapeake Energy has drilled several new wells around that same neighborhood, and residents have new concerns. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

The Wyoming Oil and Gas Commission says that workers from Chesapeake energy are making progress in trying to control a gas leak near Douglas.  Commission Supervisor Tom Doll says that efforts will continue through the weekend.

On Tuesday at the oil rig caused the well to release an unknown quantity of gas into the air,and some residents were evacuated.  Weather conditions hampered containment efforts, but one evacuee, Kristi Mogen,is frustrated that the company is not acting faster. And she’s upset that the wells were drilled so close to her house in the first place.

DAN CEPEDA

A Tuesday oil rig accident northeast of Douglas continues to spew gas into the atmosphere.

At last count, 50 of 67 residents volunteered to evacuate the surrounding area of the leak, staying in hotels paid for by the site’s natural gas operator Chesapeake Energy.

No injuries have been reported.

Oil and gas commissioner Tom Doll says it’s unclear how much gas has been lost.