Well, I have to give Steve Bouser some credit. He FINALLY grew a pair and attached his name to one of his far-far-far-left rants. Today’s target is the oil industry’s contribution to the economic boom in North Dakota. That state is one of the few spots in the United States not suffering under Barry-O’s reign of terror. I assume Steve doesn’t think this is fair. He’s all about EQUALITY. Everyone ought to feel the pain:
Want to know some of the blessings fracking could bring to North Carolina and northern Moore County? Look at another place with “north” in its name: North Dakota.
Specifically, consider New Town, N.D., whose population is (or was until recently) 1,500 – a few hundred more souls than now inhabit our own Robbins. And clearly, those souls are growing increasingly traumatized now that big-time, get-rich-quick fracking has descended with a vengeance upon their once laid-back community and on the entire western part of their state.
Really? You’ve taken a poll, Steve? We’ve got a small group of moonbats in this county who show up at EVERY planning meeting protesting ANY kind of development. (Your paper is one of the few sources in the county that gives those people ANY credibility.) Do those moonbats represent the majority opinion within Moore County? I say, NO. Remember all of the drama over cutting down that tree to build The Southern Prime steakhouse on Broad Street? (You should. You gave those moonbats a lot of positive, undeserved coverage.) Has Broad Street gone to hell in a handbasket since the restaurant was built? No. A few people who make a lot of noise, and earn some publicity, do not constitute the majority, popular opinion. READ ON:
I’ve never been to North Dakota, way up there in the upper Great Plains. But I happened to find out what has been happening lately in New Town thanks to NPR, which is in the midst of taking a detailed, pro-and-con look at fracking and the oil-and-gas boom all this week. Daily segments from many locales are airing both on “Morning Edition” and on evening “All Things Considered” broadcasts.
This should be must listening for us back here. You can hear replays or read transcripts by going to npr.org and clicking on “Programs.” I’ll focus here on Monday morning’s session, which compelled me to stop in mid-toothbrushing and listen for five or six minutes.
Aah. NPR. I thought Steve got his talking points from MSNBC. Though, this is just about as bad. Read On:
First the good news. North Dakota, which had formerly fallen on hard times, now has a 3.5 percent unemployment rate. The state government enjoys a million-dollar budget surplus. And it’s all because of a major petroleum rush that promises to make North Dakota the third-largest oil state, after Alaska and Texas.
The bad news is that those two billion barrels of recently discovered oil – and accompanying natural gas – can’t be extracted in the “easy,” old-fashioned way by simply drilling holes into high-pressure underground pools and watching the gushers spew and your bank account grow.
Now you have to create the pressure artificially by pumping untold millions of gallons of water and chemicals deep underground and then setting off charges to blast open shale deposits, forcing them to release trapped gas and oil. This is the complicated, costly and controversial process (I hope I got it halfway right) known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Proponents say fracking will create jobs – or at least temporary ones filled by roughnecks and wildcatters from elsewhere. And that seems to be the case in overwhelmed western North Dakota.
“Imagine you live in a small farming town, worried for years about depopulation,” NPR correspondent John McChesney reported from New Town. “And suddenly, overnight, the population doubles, and the newcomers are thousands of young men without families. Imagine you live in a tiny town with one main street that doubles as a state highway. …
“Today, it’s anybody’s guess how many people live here. No one knows how many 18-wheelers roll through here every day. They just know it never stops. It seems nearly every big tanker truck in America is on the road here, making tens of thousands of trips a day, hauling water, fracking fluid, wastewater, crude oil – and tearing up the roads.”
Steve — I actually know a handful of folks from North Carolina who are working in the petroleum industry in North Dakota. They can’t find jobs to support their families here — thanks to big-government meddling in Raleigh and DC and an overall horrid business climate. So, they headed north to work hard and make money — much more than they ever could here — to support their families.
They spend three months up north, then come home for three months. Three on, three off. It’s not about greed — or “rape” as you so snidely commented in your piece — it’s about trying to make ends meet and support families in this godawful economy brought on by your socialist comrades. Read On:
Residents caught up in the boom complain of constant noise, pollution and $7 gallons of milk. The number of rigs drilling into the Bakken oil field is expected to reach 225 by year’s end. Each one brings an estimated 120 jobs with it. Once those wells have been exhausted, the crews move on to others. Within 20 years, incredibly, experts predict that western North Dakota could have as many as 48,000 wells.
The area around New Town, where buffalo once roamed, has always depended heavily on tourism. (Sound familiar?) Now, water systems, sewer systems and employee bases are all being bled dry. Roads are crumbling. Harassed local officials spend their days worrying about nothing else. You get a sense of out-of-control chaos.
Meanwhile, the oil and gas industry stages parades and events in an effort to make the community feel good – or at least to get it to hold still until the rape is completed.
Wait. Didn’t you start off by telling us about how economically prosperous North Dakota is — thanks to this boom? I am sure the energy companies are paying serious taxes and fees to the state and local governments. The crumbling roads stuff — if it is true — sounds more like local officials not planning properly for population increases. Read On:
One of the last people NPR interviewed was a rancher named Donnie Nelson.
“Just about anybody I’ve talked to that’s a neighbor – and some of them are getting wealthy – are sick of it,” he said. “And it’s never going to be the same in this country. They’re starting to realize that we had it kind of good. Even though we weren’t number one in oil and we weren’t number one economically and everything, we had a good life up here.”
Notice that word “had,” as in past tense. Pray that we never find ourselves uttering those same poignantly regretful words down here.
Hmm. This sounds a lot like some of the things locals have said about Yankees like you,Steve, flooding into Moore County. This place seems to have survived the onslaught.
Comparing the gas field here in North Carolina is not a fair comparison. North Dakota is much more sparsely populated, and their field is much bigger than what we have here.
Steve and his fellow leftists tell us we need to wean ourselves off of oil — especially foreign oil. When we find a credible domestic alternative, Steve and his comrades howl about made up environmental trauma.
Go to Google, Steve. The Internet is LOADED with studies from credible scientific sources saying that there is NO EVIDENCE of environmental damage related to fracking. Even the EPA — no friend to the business community — says there is no evidence of pollution or environmental damage related to fracking.
But the media loads up on reports from people like Steve and the NPR announcer who have a leftist agenda, but no scientific credentials. (Want a great read on energy issues? Check out the blog by energy specialist Steve Maley.)