The Bush Foundation has been involved in supporting community vitality in North Dakota for decades. With our current focus on engaging communities in solving the tough problems they face, we've been watching the dynamics of the development of the Bakken oil fields (the "oil patch") and its subsequent boom play out across many interests.
Opinions differ widely about whether the oil boom is a positive or negative force for the state. It's resulted in a rapid influx of people to the region. The expanding industry has spurred an unprecedented economic growth, but the speed at which this took place meant certain public services could not expand fast enough to supply the demand. Severe housing shortages, lack of schools and other inadequate infrastructure have become tough problems that affect the communities of western North Dakota.
There are many views and opinions as North Dakota navigates the oil boom. These links on a variety of topics relating to the oil patch may give more perspective:
Foundation staff and other interested parties toured the oil patch on Monday, July 16, to see firsthand the impact of the oil boom on North Dakota's people, communities, land and culture. You can follow @BushFoundation on Twitter to see our tweets, read Jane Leonard's blog post and check out photos from the tour.