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  • A Fracking Miracle: North Dakota's Bakken Boom (VIDEO)

    “The North Dakota Miracle.”

    That’s what it’s been dubbed by many. The recent boom of the Bakken oil fields—made possible by a perfect storm of sensible state regulations, the often maligned fracking process, and the fact that most drilling is taking place on private lands—has produced a whirlwind of economic growth in a formerly sleepy corner of northwest North Dakota. Recently, a team from The Heritage Foundation and the Institute for Energy Research (IER) traveled out West to see it for ourselves.

    During our short, 3-minute video, you will hear from the people themselves about the impact the boom has had on their families and their community. But the most striking takeaway for many who watch may well be the stark contrast between an electric local economy and the more familiar picture around the rest of the country still saddled with high unemployment and a sputtering economy. And while the Bakken will not single-handedly revive America’s sluggish economy, it can, as evidenced by the success in North Dakota, be an important part of the solution. And North Dakota is only one of many states that is beginning to reap the economic benefits of fracking and other advances in drilling technology to harvest previously inaccessible oil deposits. That is, of course, if the federal government does not disrupt the whole process.

    And with signs that the Environmental Protection Agency is gearing up for a bigger regulatory push, those fears are not without merit. But those on the ground simply hope that their government wont rob them of one of the few bright spots in an otherwise bleak national economic picture. As Ward Koeser, mayor of Williston, North Dakota and a man who has seen firsthand the tremendous opportunities created by this boom put it, ”We hope they would use common sense and yet we recognize the federal government isn’t really known for common sense.”

    But the looming threat of regulation is ironic, considering that North Dakota could easily serve as the poster child for how we can develop our resources efficiently and in an environmentally sensible manner. Oil production has quadrupled since 2005—North Dakota is now the 2nd largest oil producer in the US behind Texas—and state regulators have effectively balanced economic growth and environmental protection.

    Jan Herfindahl discusses the growth she has seen since the recent boom and the security it has provided her family

    Of course, three short minutes is not nearly enough time to share all the inspiring stories of those we met. You wont hear the story of Vern and Jan Herfindahl, a delightfully warm farming couple on the edge of Tioga, North Dakota. When the economy went south a few years back, they were forced into bankruptcy and would have lost their family home if not for the money they now receive leasing the mineral rights underneath their farm land.

    “We thought we had lost everything,” she recalled, her voice trembling a bit with the recollection. “And by the grace of God we were able to take control again and now we have a little bit of oil money. We’re still paying on the house; we had it paid at one time. We’re paying on land again, and so it just feels good to know that we do have some kind of income that we can rely on. It’s a gift and we’re so grateful for it.”

    Nor will you hear the story of Eric Swanson, a construction worker from Minneapolis.

    Eric Swanson, a construction worker from Minneapolis, traveled to North Dakota last fall to find work

    Facing a work slowdown in Minnesota, Eric traveled up to the area last November with a friend to look for work. One of the first builders they met was an old friend who offered them both work. They immediately jumped in their truck, sped back to Minneapolis to grab their tools and were back onsite the next day.

    He now works a full week, heading home each weekend to spend time with his wife and kids. But like most of the men and women who have come to North Dakota looking for a second chance, Eric has no complaints; he is simply grateful for the opportunity to provide for his family. “It’s putting people to work in a time where there’s not much work anywhere else,” he explains.

    This quiet pride was characteristic of the people we met. Whether native North Dakotans or transplants from literally every state in the nation, they appreciate the scarcity of the opportunity they have found and the dignity of having a job. As Mayor Koeser says in the video, “Where else in the country do you have 1% unemployment? Where else in the country can you find a good paying job?”

    He compares the influx of those looking for work to the pioneers of yesteryear. “They came west to find a place to start over,” he explains. “We’re finding again today, the people who come here … they’re not complaining. They’re just grateful to have a good-paying job, benefits, and a company that appreciates them.”

    With a weak economy, millions of Americans around the country are hurting. Rather than make matters worse, the government should be encouraging states like North Dakota which are safely producing domestic energy and creating good-paying jobs here at home.

    The video runs a little over three minutes and was produced by Heritage’s Brandon Stewart in partnership with the Institute for Energy Research. For more videos from Heritage, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to A Fracking Miracle: North Dakota's Bakken Boom (VIDEO)

    1. Rohdewarrior says:

      IMHO Telling Congress to "Come take a look." is a mistake. They'll see the dollars and immediately commence thinking of ways to get their hands on it.

    2. There are formations on federal lands as well. My plan is to monetize these assets and help pay for the massive unfunded liabilities in social security and medicare. A government policy that seeks to utilize its balance sheet for the next generation of citizens depending on safety nets makes perfect sense. We should not let environmentalists or ideologues get in the way of helping to finance programs for the next generation of students and seniors.

      • Fred Closs says:

        My only problem with your plan is it seeks to fund the Ponzi Scheme called Social Security. Why not put that money into projects that are profitable? I see from your FB page you refer to Ayn Rand and "Atlas Shrugged", but I don't believe any of her characters would want to contribute to SS. Also, I don't see what party you are a member of. DNC? RNC, Libertarian?

    3. 2wheels2lanes1camera says:

      The patient quiet hardworking ethics of self-reliant North Dakotans has paid off. Despite the fact that the current and past RINO governors will take credit for the economic benefits that have arrived during their terms in office, the reward here is from the efforts of the research and development people in oil companies.

    4. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Is anyone that naive to believe that Obama, the EPA, and the Dems in Congress doesn't know what's going on in North Dakota, along with the radical environmentialist? Obama EPA is now hard at work inventing new way to shut down fracking, just as they did with the BP spill. Isn't it obvious to everyone that their agenda is to not have good news for the economy. Do we not recognize that Obama goal is to collapse this nation's economical system through destroying the fossil fuel energy industry. But also, to those that want to end ALL subsudies that allows energy companies to develope new ways to recover our energy sorces, this should serve as a lesson that proves why it is important to keep providing those subsudies.

    5. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Obama would probably do that. Watch out, North Dakota. After what happened in the Gulf, you're next.

    6. airstream says:

      Contrary to the 1921 Federal Minerals Leasing Act, Obama has already halted leasing on the Wayne National Forest saying, "Not enough is understood about fracking". BS, we been doin it since 1947….

      • Monica McLaughlin says:

        Most of the fracking in ND is done on private land. National Forests are parks for people. They should be left alone.

        • just some guy says:

          This is an unrealistic, fairy tale point of view, in my opinion. Why don't we use the monies generated from the oil recovered by fracking to pay off the national debt and keep the dollar as a viable form of money? As a tax paying American citizen I am all for using resources in out national parks to ease the financial burden put on the taxpayers by out of control government spending. Otherwise, the economy is going to crash and then nobody is going to be able to visit national parks. We'll be too busy working just to survive.

    7. Joe says:

      This administration and the huge machine behind it will “crucify” ND if possible in order to keep American wealth flowing into the middle east.

    8. Madman says:

      It's to bad that so many people believe that slug they call president. It time to move on out of this bad dream we've been in and take our country back. If not at the voting booth any way we can.

    9. Bill says:

      I have recently become involved with a lease in the Lodgepole formation. How should I proceed to have this developed?

    10. Ginny Smith says:

      Interesting information you may like to have.

    11. J. McGaughey says:

      Ahhh, Our tightest friends to the North! How thankful in S. Dakota we are for you slowing down the blizzard winds, catching some of that snow, and warming up the -20 degrees below in–we'll just say February.
      Dynamic example you are in brains, beauty, and braun–the Spirit of our United States of America–we know the other 49 cheer your initiative and appreciative attitude! May the rest of us rise to such occasions:)

    12. John Fillius says:

      How did the feds get the land that belongs to all of us / we the people should say what can and can't be done on all that land

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