Weather Forecast


Thanks, N.D. Petroleum Council

-- We believe that despite history's warnings and environmentalists' proposals, much of the Plains will inexorably suffer near-total desertion over the next generation. It will come slowly to most places, quickly to some. ... The overall desertion will largely run its course. At that point, the only way to keep the Plains from turning into an utter wasteland, an American Empty Quarter, will be for the federal government to step in and buy the land -- in short, to deprivatize it."

-- Frank and Deborah Popper,

December 1987

-- Deaths vastly exceed births, schools are closing, their contents auctioned, and families are selling the farm. While rural areas across the U.S. have grown overall, the Great Plains, along with parts of the Mississippi Delta and western Corn Belt, remains uniquely forlorn.

-- High Country News,

January 2001

-- It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out this region will continue to depopulate, age and face further economic declines.

-- Frank Popper, as quoted by

High Country News, January 2001

-- It's time for us to acknowledge one of America's greatest mistakes, a 140-year-old scheme that has failed at a cost of trillions of dollars, countless lives and immeasurable heartbreak: the settlement of the Great Plains.

-- Nicholas Kristof,

The New York Times, September 2002

-- Today in western North Dakota, a 3,000-acre (1,200 hectares) spread of wheat is necessary for survival, and so the ground is littered with dead towns and empty kitchens where people once painted the walls a cheery robin's-egg blue. ... That's the rub in rural North Dakota, a sense of things ebbing, of churches being abandoned, schools shutting down, towns becoming ruins.

-- National Geographic,

January 2008

Thanks, North Dakota Petroleum Council and energy industry, for helping to prove the above prophets so wonderfully and spectacularly wrong. And welcome to Grand Forks, a city where North Dakotans never lost faith in their state.

The Grand Forks Herald's Editorial Board

formed this opinion.