Wednesday, January 29, 2014

More on the transformation of once sleepy western North Dakota

NPR is doing a multi-part series on the North Dakota oil boom, kicking off with this story today.  It touches on a lot of issues other coverage of the phenomenon have hit on:  the housing and labor shortage, traffic congestion and other signs of strained infrastructure, and rising crime.  I like this vignette from Kirk Siegler's story, which goes to how the culture of the place (in this case, Watford City) is changing:
From behind the cash register at Larsen Drug, Alicia Deedee has an example she always offers to explain how things have changed. 
"My little sister and I used to be able to walk all over town. Our parents didn't worry," she says. "[Now] I have a daughter of my own, and my husband and I won't let her outside by herself anymore." 
Deedee says a lot of the changes are bittersweet. While she welcomes the money, she doesn't like all the trucks and the traffic and the crime that have come with the boom. 
"At the same time, I'm thankful we have good jobs — and we have jobs. A lot of people in the country don't," she says.
Other posts about the transformation of North Dakota are hereherehere, and here.  And here and here are stories from a few days ago, about new concerns in places like the Dakotas where oil is increasingly being transported by train, with attendant safety and environmental consequences.

P.S. A second story in the NPR series just appeared:  Oil Boom:  A Modern Day Oil Rush in Motion.  This one features mostly photos--very poignant and telling photos of not just the ND phenomenon, but of contemporary working-class America.  

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