The Heritage Foundation and the Institute For Energy Research put this three-minute video together after a trip to North Dakota, where the unemployment rate is 1 percent and housing for the hordes of people moving into the boomtowns of Tioga and Williston is in an extreme shortage.
It’s the Bakken Formation, the oil-rich shale formation which is being tapped through hydraulic fracturing, which is driving the prosperity.
We’re posting this because it’s nice to see some good economic news, even if it’s in a place as out-of-the-way as you can get in the continental United States. But there’s another reason as well…
If you’ll notice Wade Koeser, the mayor of Williston, expressing worry that the federal government might shut the whole thing down through the EPA, you can’t help but be saddened and outraged. Koeser might be wrong about the threat the EPA poses to the Bakken boom, but he’s not unreasonable to have that worry.
In fact, the oil and gas industry is extremely concerned about the political risk now inherent in doing business in the United States – so much so that authors are writing books about it. Elsewhere, there is the issue of potential revolutions and corruption – but the fact is it’s a lot easier to buy off a crooked politician in Angola or Tajikistan and insure uninterrupted business operations than it is to deal with entrenched ideological hostility in the Executive Branch in the States.
So North Dakota continues with their boom, but the specter of being shut down through bureaucratic red tape and environmentalist shenanigans still looms. And the story in the Bakken is playing out in a smaller scale in western and central Pennsylvania, Texas, Louisiana, West Virginia and lots of other places.
The people of those areas don’t fear interference from a Romney administration, by the way.