An independent research group, Headwaters Economics, released a study last week showing that North Dakota is "unprepared" for the effects of rapid development in the Bakken.
"With the considerable, even enviable, resources at our fingertips in North Dakota, it is shameful that our communities cannot count on our state government and its leadership to keep them protected and prosperous for years to come," said Ryan Taylor, candidate for Governor. "Under Governor Dalrymple, North Dakota is unable to responsibly develop the Bakken in a way that preserves our quality of life and cares for our neighbors in the west."
The study, which is part of a larger research effort led by Stanford University, concludes that North Dakota must invest more oil and natural gas tax revenues to communities in the Bakken to help pay for roads, schools and other infrastructure needs. Instead, the Dalrymple administration allocates only 8% of the total oil and gas revenues back to the local government. The rest remains under lock and key in Bismarck, and Governor Dalrymple has shown no leadership in asking for changes to the formula. Eight percent is well below other energy-producing states like Montana (39%) and Wyoming (35%).
As work in the Bakken continues to expand, U.S. and Canadian law enforcement officials expect an additional 30,000 workers to move into the area causing a spike in crime, increased crowding in schools and further roadway congestion.
"Now is the time to invest in our quality of life," said Taylor. "We cannot wait until it's too late to make the needed improvements for North Dakota families."