If you just look at the numbers, North Dakota’s oil boom is a smashing success. Since the discovery of the Parshall Oil Field in 2006 North Dakota has celebrated the lowest unemployment rate in the nation. They are also paying the mineral rights owners of the land between $50,000 and $100,000 per month just for being awesome, and the state as a whole has a budget surplus of over two billion dollars.
Those are no small successes.
Unfortunately, oil comes with issues. The most obvious one being the risk of spill, which happened in 2006 and again in 2014, and wrecked havoc on the environment, polluting the water killing off fish, plants, and local wildlife.
A secondary issue that’s lesser known, but potentially even more hazardous to the environment is the wastewater byproduct of the drilling process. North Dakota’s is some of the worst. It’s 13 times saltier than ocean sea water, and is spilling at an astonishing 2 gallons per minute due to the drilling. This water won’t just kill off every living thing in its path, it will sterilize the environment for decades to come.
But let’s face it, fracking is a multi-billion dollar industry and while we environmental lobbyists continue to discuss their concerns, North Dakota has other problems that are causing even more trouble in their operation.
Illegal narcotics are pouring into the area at staggering rates, and they’re fueling an array of heinous crimes in a once quiet, rural community, are making headlines. The combination of drugs and complicated jurisdictional rules over the area that worker camps cover, and tribal considerations due to some of the land belonging to the Three Affiliated Tribes who have their own law enforcement, makes managing crime especially difficult.
Drug fueled crime ranging from assaults, murders, human trafficking, rape, and robberies happens with shocking frequency. And despite large scale busts, it seems major operations supplying heroin and methamphetamine to the area workers are popping up everywhere. One thing is for certain, the environmental impacts combined with some of the shocking developments in this small town has everyone wondering what the future of oil drilling in North Dakota will be.