The Oral History Association is delighted to announce that the 2013 Emerging Crisis Oral History Research Fund goes to Carrie and Michael Kline of Talking Across the Lines for their proposed project “The Oil and Gas Rush in the Marcellus Shale Fields of West Virginia: An Emerging Crisis.”
As in other parts of the United States, northcentral West Virginia is experiencing an ecological and public health crisis and a deep community conflict ensuing from deep and horizontal drilling, known as “fracking,” to extract natural gas. As the Klines write, “The Appalachian region is in an uproar of pain and confusion” around fracking. Citizen opinion about the practice runs along a wide spectrum, and community relations run the risk of being ruptured.
With support from the OHA Emerging Crises Research Fund, Talking Across the Lines will record lengthy testimonials from people on all sides of the issue in far greater depth than the average journalist or news crew will cover, linking larger reflections about family, home and community to fracking, and perhaps helping to “discover common ground among apparently polarized points of view.” As the Klines write, “Without this proposed listening project, these complexities would otherwise be lost or unavailable.” They argue that their project “can play an important role in balancing the need for energy independence with protection of health, happiness and human rights among the region’s inhabitants. Such is the power of spoken narratives.”
Carrie and Michael Kline