Abstract: Empowering through Entrepreneurship

Judit Olah


The early history of the Maverick Springs oil field in Freemont County, Wyoming, entails the fascinating story of how a community marshaled its resources and presented increasingly powerful arguments to protect its economic interest. The course of proceedings took those arguments to be successfully presented to state and eventually to federal officers. The proceedings also demonstrated that disentangling economic interest is an often slow process, and the pace itself can politicize the already heated financial discussions. The stakes were high, as revenues sought from the lease agreement were to support public, educational, and medical services, thus to directly benefit the community. A commentary cited in the local newspaper indicated how critical it was, to the overall positive outcome of events, that the local community maintained its poise, and calmly asked state and later federal officers to "have a fair hearing of both sides of the story." Two key elements to success were the building of statewide community support behind the local interest, and the gathering of expert opinions substantiating the validity of local claims by providing independent and competing assessment of the local assets.

BEH On-Line Paper