The news pouring out of the 2010 Williston Basin Petroleum Conference confirms it, North Dakotans are sitting on top of a gold mine. According to new estimates, we are living on top of 4 billion barrels of recoverable crude oil between the Bakken shale and the Three Forks-Sanish reservoir.
As Sen. Dorgan said at the conference, this is “an unbelievable bounty” for our state.
The decisions we make in the coming years about how we invest in this bounty has the chance to leave our state with a solid foundation or, on the other hand, could leave us high and dry like other oil busts.
Unfortunately, the Republican leadership in this state is more interested in ingratiating themselves with the wealthy oilmen who can fund their campaigns for higher office than in finding the best solutions for North Dakota.
While the roads are crumbling, oil field workers are living in tents for want of housing, and schools are overcrowding in western North Dakota, folks like Rick Berg and Ed Shafer are proposing to cut oil extraction taxes for their rich buddies.
So let me get this straight:
- We, the people of North Dakota, are sitting on top of one of the world’s largest oil reserves.
- Republicans like Gov. Hoeven, Rick Berg and Ed Shafer want to make it cheaper for rich out-of-state oilmen to take this valuable resource out from under us while leaving us to clean up the mess.
- In turn, Hoeven and Berg’s actions will fund their campaigns for higher office with out-of-state oil money by selling out North Dakota.
The Republican leadership of our state is either the worst group of negotiators I’ve seen in a long time or, worse, is willing to sell our state short to grease the skids for their political ambitions.
Ryan Nagle, Fargo