The New York Times has preemptively posted the cover story from the upcoming edition of their magazine, and once again, North Dakota has taken center stage. Titled, “North Dakota Went Boom,” the story is one of the many recent pieces covering the transformation occurring in the state; an evolution hurtling forward due to the millions of gallons of oil that lie beneath the otherwise largely uninhabited expanse of land. 
Though this is nothing new - with publications from the Washington Post to Rolling Stone covering the nation’s latest oil excavation spree - author Chip Brown’s piece touches on a few subjects that have previously been left buried under the cloud of dust left by journalists racing towards the Midwestern state. Unfortunately, Brown leaves many of these ideas only partially uncovered.
The piece begins with mundane talk of the frontier; certainly nothing new for a state with history steeped in windswept plains and vast amounts of sparsely populated land. The juxtaposition between this emptiness and the new mammoth machines that now cover the land is also known to us by now - for those of you that have yet to see it, the image of North Dakota’s economy seen from space is truly impressive. As Clay S. Jenkinso told Brown:
 “It’s our gold rush, our Silicon Valley. It reverses decades of anxiety about out-migration and rural decline and death. Suddenly the state that never had anything is in the middle of an oil boom that is larger than anybody could have predicted. We aren’t going to do anything to jeopardize it. People aren’t interested in stepping back.”
Far away from the nation’s economic hubs, North Dakota has seen this trend before, with oil rushes occurring each decade for the past 50 years, a topic Brown touches on (unlike many authors before him).
One of the pieces main characters, 65-year-old, Bud Light-drinking, deer-hunting “petro-preneur” Loren Kopseng, began his oil obsession 30-years-ago. After years of failure and bankruptcy, Kopseng’s oil company has since found success, one of the many in the state who has undergone a rags-to-riches transformation.
“It has minted millionaires, paid off mortgages, created businesses; it has raised rents, stressed roads, vexed planners and overwhelmed schools; it has polluted streams, spoiled fields and boosted crime,” wrote Brown, making sure not to leave out the negative aspects that have come with the influx of “newly minted millionaires.”
Momentarily straying away from this played out storyline, Brown switches his focus to topics like the problems occurring on the rural roads of North Dakota, creating a new lens for us to view the prolific economic undertaking occurring in the state. “Each well in western North Dakota requires about 2,000 truck trips in its first year of operation,” wrote Brown, pointing out the huge upswing in the number of vehicles taking to the once-unoccupied roads. The problems faced by the county and state highway departments have been less explored, but Brown gives the dust clouds and ride ratings of the state’s roads a closer look in his piece.
This is where “North Dakota Goes Boom” thrives; when it steps away from the tropes surrounding newfound wealth and examines issues largely unseen, such as the lack of environmental concern found in the state.
“But oil development, and fracking in particular, raises little of the hue and cry it does in Eastern states sitting above the natural gas in the Marcellus shale,” said Brown, adding a new question to the environmental woes of eastern fracktivists. Briefly touching on the reasons this may be the case – such as a much smaller population – Brown doesn’t take the opportunity to treat the reader to a new view of the oil boom, his piece instead choosing to narrow its angle on North Dakota’s well-trod story.

The New York Times has preemptively posted the cover story from the upcoming edition of their magazine, and once again, North Dakota has taken center stage. Titled, “North Dakota Went Boom,” the story is one of the many recent pieces covering the transformation occurring in the state; an evolution hurtling forward due to the millions of gallons of oil that lie beneath the otherwise largely uninhabited expanse of land. 

Though this is nothing new - with publications from the Washington Post to Rolling Stone covering the nation’s latest oil excavation spree - author Chip Brown’s piece touches on a few subjects that have previously been left buried under the cloud of dust left by journalists racing towards the Midwestern state. Unfortunately, Brown leaves many of these ideas only partially uncovered.

The piece begins with mundane talk of the frontier; certainly nothing new for a state with history steeped in windswept plains and vast amounts of sparsely populated land. The juxtaposition between this emptiness and the new mammoth machines that now cover the land is also known to us by now - for those of you that have yet to see it, the image of North Dakota’s economy seen from space is truly impressive. As Clay S. Jenkinso told Brown:

 “It’s our gold rush, our Silicon Valley. It reverses decades of anxiety about out-migration and rural decline and death. Suddenly the state that never had anything is in the middle of an oil boom that is larger than anybody could have predicted. We aren’t going to do anything to jeopardize it. People aren’t interested in stepping back.”

Far away from the nation’s economic hubs, North Dakota has seen this trend before, with oil rushes occurring each decade for the past 50 years, a topic Brown touches on (unlike many authors before him).

One of the pieces main characters, 65-year-old, Bud Light-drinking, deer-hunting “petro-preneur” Loren Kopseng, began his oil obsession 30-years-ago. After years of failure and bankruptcy, Kopseng’s oil company has since found success, one of the many in the state who has undergone a rags-to-riches transformation.

“It has minted millionaires, paid off mortgages, created businesses; it has raised rents, stressed roads, vexed planners and overwhelmed schools; it has polluted streams, spoiled fields and boosted crime,” wrote Brown, making sure not to leave out the negative aspects that have come with the influx of “newly minted millionaires.”

Momentarily straying away from this played out storyline, Brown switches his focus to topics like the problems occurring on the rural roads of North Dakota, creating a new lens for us to view the prolific economic undertaking occurring in the state. “Each well in western North Dakota requires about 2,000 truck trips in its first year of operation,” wrote Brown, pointing out the huge upswing in the number of vehicles taking to the once-unoccupied roads. The problems faced by the county and state highway departments have been less explored, but Brown gives the dust clouds and ride ratings of the state’s roads a closer look in his piece.

This is where “North Dakota Goes Boom” thrives; when it steps away from the tropes surrounding newfound wealth and examines issues largely unseen, such as the lack of environmental concern found in the state.

“But oil development, and fracking in particular, raises little of the hue and cry it does in Eastern states sitting above the natural gas in the Marcellus shale,” said Brown, adding a new question to the environmental woes of eastern fracktivists. Briefly touching on the reasons this may be the case – such as a much smaller population – Brown doesn’t take the opportunity to treat the reader to a new view of the oil boom, his piece instead choosing to narrow its angle on North Dakota’s well-trod story.

Boom towns see health care stretched by uninsured workers
According to a New York Times article posted Wednesday, the economic impact from the nation’s most recent oil boom isn’t limited to gas prices. With the increasing number of wells opened each day, the number of industry health problems has also risen, and brought the complications of uninsured patients with them.
Focusing on North Dakota – a state whose oil impact can quite literally be seen from space – the article examines a range of injuries, such as burns and broken bones that are associated with the rough workplace of the oil industry.
Though the physical pain may be felt by the thousands of new workers who have flooded the area, it is their uninsured status that has left the regions medical centers reeling. It’s a problem that’s also been reported in parts of Pennsylvania’s development in the Marcellus Shale. 
The $1.2 million debt accumulated by North Dakota’s McKenzie County Hospital is an unfathomable 2,000 percent more than it was the past four years ago, the hospital’s chief executive Daniel Kelly told theNew York Times.
The hospital also receives 300 more emergency room visits a year, a testament to the serious dangerous nature of the oil business that has led to a 200 percent increase in traumatic injuries occurring in the region since 2007.
According to Darrold Bertsch the president of the state’s Rural Health Association, the 12 medical facilities in western North Dakota saw their debt rise by 46 percent from 2011-2012. “Plain and simple, those kinds of things are not sustainable,” said Bertsch, who added that nine of the 12 facilities reported operating losses.
A recent article by the Observer-Reporteralso reported that Jersey Shore Hospital in north-central Pennsylvania – a hotbed for shale drilling – had an operating loss of $770,000; its first operating loss in almost five years.
“I don’t think it’s a sign of the economy. I think it’s the influx of the gas, industry and those who lack insurance,” Jersey Shore Hospital president and CEO Carey Plummer told the Williamsport Sun-Gazette. 
 To prevent such economic failure, hospitals such as the McKenzie County Hospital are taking measures to more accurately track down payments from patients, who are more frequently giving false information to avoid a steep bill. Mr. Kelly is also urging the state to use some of its $1 billion surplus on its health care facilities, along with a study of health care issues in oil regions and low-interest loans for hospitals.
Governor Jack Dalrymple is working to fix his states medical issues, with a proposed $68 million set to be spent on a new medical school building at the University of North Dakota and $6 million devoted to expanding the nursing program at Lake Region State College. The state’s rural hospitals have also received increased Medicaid funding thanks to the Republican governor.
Jeffrey L. Zent, a spokesman for the governor, told the Times that, “Health care is certainly one of those areas that was targeted early on as we’ve seen growth out west.”
Population growth has come quickly to the state, whose capital has less than 100,000 permanent residents. Towns like Williston – considered the heart of the oil boom – have grown from fewer than 15,000 in 2010 to as many as 33,000 residents. The towns have grown so rapidly that many streets lack street signs, causing logistical problems for the health care industry which often has trouble finding hurt workers in the hastily thrown together camps that comprise part of the town.
“My work is no longer small-town work,” local doctor Gary Ramage told the Times. Before the boom, Dr. Ramage covered the emergency room and a clinic; now, much like many of those working in the health care industry in North Dakota,  he has more patients than he can handle.

Boom towns see health care stretched by uninsured workers

According to New York Times article posted Wednesday, the economic impact from the nation’s most recent oil boom isn’t limited to gas prices. With the increasing number of wells opened each day, the number of industry health problems has also risen, and brought the complications of uninsured patients with them.

Focusing on North Dakota – a state whose oil impact can quite literally be seen from space – the article examines a range of injuries, such as burns and broken bones that are associated with the rough workplace of the oil industry.

Though the physical pain may be felt by the thousands of new workers who have flooded the area, it is their uninsured status that has left the regions medical centers reeling. It’s a problem that’s also been reported in parts of Pennsylvania’s development in the Marcellus Shale. 

The $1.2 million debt accumulated by North Dakota’s McKenzie County Hospital is an unfathomable 2,000 percent more than it was the past four years ago, the hospital’s chief executive Daniel Kelly told theNew York Times.

The hospital also receives 300 more emergency room visits a year, a testament to the serious dangerous nature of the oil business that has led to a 200 percent increase in traumatic injuries occurring in the region since 2007.

According to Darrold Bertsch the president of the state’s Rural Health Association, the 12 medical facilities in western North Dakota saw their debt rise by 46 percent from 2011-2012. “Plain and simple, those kinds of things are not sustainable,” said Bertsch, who added that nine of the 12 facilities reported operating losses.

A recent article by the Observer-Reporteralso reported that Jersey Shore Hospital in north-central Pennsylvania – a hotbed for shale drilling – had an operating loss of $770,000; its first operating loss in almost five years.

“I don’t think it’s a sign of the economy. I think it’s the influx of the gas, industry and those who lack insurance,” Jersey Shore Hospital president and CEO Carey Plummer told the Williamsport Sun-Gazette. 

 To prevent such economic failure, hospitals such as the McKenzie County Hospital are taking measures to more accurately track down payments from patients, who are more frequently giving false information to avoid a steep bill. Mr. Kelly is also urging the state to use some of its $1 billion surplus on its health care facilities, along with a study of health care issues in oil regions and low-interest loans for hospitals.

Governor Jack Dalrymple is working to fix his states medical issues, with a proposed $68 million set to be spent on a new medical school building at the University of North Dakota and $6 million devoted to expanding the nursing program at Lake Region State College. The state’s rural hospitals have also received increased Medicaid funding thanks to the Republican governor.

Jeffrey L. Zent, a spokesman for the governor, told the Times that, “Health care is certainly one of those areas that was targeted early on as we’ve seen growth out west.”

Population growth has come quickly to the state, whose capital has less than 100,000 permanent residents. Towns like Williston – considered the heart of the oil boom – have grown from fewer than 15,000 in 2010 to as many as 33,000 residents. The towns have grown so rapidly that many streets lack street signs, causing logistical problems for the health care industry which often has trouble finding hurt workers in the hastily thrown together camps that comprise part of the town.

“My work is no longer small-town work,” local doctor Gary Ramage told the Times. Before the boom, Dr. Ramage covered the emergency room and a clinic; now, much like many of those working in the health care industry in North Dakota,  he has more patients than he can handle.

According to Huntington Bank’s Midwest Economic Index, nearly 60 percent of those living within shale exploration areas believe the rapidly growing industry will bring economic opportunity.
As shale exploration continues across the country, the hotly debated industry has gained those that praise the abundant resource and those that see it as an environmental liability. While both sides continue to validate their argument, the economic benefits are often hard to overlook, as the stretch of land from West Virginia to Michigan that is currently being explored could potentially be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
"While many inside and outside of the energy industry are predicting growth, we wanted to find out how the residents of our markets perceive the potential economic impact of the industry on their communities ,” said Steve Steinour, chairman, president and CEO of Huntington Bank.
Much of the area being explored accounts for the Rust Belt, parts of the Midwest and Northeast that have suffered economically since manufacturing numbers began to decrease nearly 40-years-ago.  ”With manufacturing growing again, and aggregate employment in these areas outpacing the national economic recovery, we prefer to call this swath of the country the Recovery Belt,” said Steinour, citing Ohio’s shrinking unemployment rate of 6.8 percent, a full percent below the national average.
Those that participated in Huntington’s Midwest Economic Index may agree with the predictions of analysts that believe the shale industry will produce hundreds of thousands of jobs, but another portion of the index revealed that less than 50 percent believed the economy would be better next year.

According to Huntington Bank’s Midwest Economic Index, nearly 60 percent of those living within shale exploration areas believe the rapidly growing industry will bring economic opportunity.

As shale exploration continues across the country, the hotly debated industry has gained those that praise the abundant resource and those that see it as an environmental liability. While both sides continue to validate their argument, the economic benefits are often hard to overlook, as the stretch of land from West Virginia to Michigan that is currently being explored could potentially be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

"While many inside and outside of the energy industry are predicting growth, we wanted to find out how the residents of our markets perceive the potential economic impact of the industry on their communities ,” said Steve Steinour, chairman, president and CEO of Huntington Bank.

Much of the area being explored accounts for the Rust Belt, parts of the Midwest and Northeast that have suffered economically since manufacturing numbers began to decrease nearly 40-years-ago.  ”With manufacturing growing again, and aggregate employment in these areas outpacing the national economic recovery, we prefer to call this swath of the country the Recovery Belt,” said Steinour, citing Ohio’s shrinking unemployment rate of 6.8 percent, a full percent below the national average.

Those that participated in Huntington’s Midwest Economic Index may agree with the predictions of analysts that believe the shale industry will produce hundreds of thousands of jobs, but another portion of the index revealed that less than 50 percent believed the economy would be better next year.

Earlier today, the Scranton Times-Tribune published an article on “FrackNation,” a documentary that examines the various issues behind fracking. Sounds like just another frack fight, right? Turns out, there’s more behind “FrackNation” than its pro-fracking viewpoint.

Last night, Pittsburgh native Mark Cuban’s cable channel AXS debuted “FrackNation” to the public. Giving viewers a synopsis to mull over before making the all important TV channel decision, AXS described the program by saying, “Journalist Phelim McAleer faces threats, cops, and bogus lawsuits questioning green extremists for the truth about fracking.”

Focusing on Northeastern Pennsylvania, the film presents viewers with the case of a Dimock couple that says their water was contaminated by nearby drilling. Similary cases in the county were showcased in an anti-fracking film “Gasland” released earlier this year that is highly critisized throughout “FrackNation.”

While the truth about fracking seems to be muddled between the arguments of those for and against the nation’s latest oil boom, those that had gathered for the viewing party in Susquehanna sided with “FrackNation,” taking to Twitter to voice their opinion.

“Just saw #fracknation premiere on AXS TV. Good film and excellent answer to the lies of Josh Fox’s Gasland,” tweeted Stan Kerr, a resident of Normal, Illinois who is one of many that took shots at “Gasland” as well as Matt Damon’s “Promised Land” on the social media website.

Sponsored by the National Association of Royalty Owners - which represents citizens who own oil and gas rights – the pro-fracking viewing party proved that this is far more than a battle between big corporations and everyday individuals, as the corporations stepped back and let the people do the talking.

According to the Times-Tribune, Clifford Root, a Tioga County Landowner, said during a break in the film that “FrackNation” gave a voice to those that hadn’t been represented enough. ”These farmers are telling the truth,” he told the Times-Tribune, “that they wouldn’t be able to make it without some help.” Wayne County and Montrose farmers also played a prominent role in the film.

“FrackNation” also highlights its argument by working directly against “Gasland.” Though this is not a new tactic – the anti-fracking movie spawning plenty of industry-funded response films - “FrackNation” used crowdfunding website Kickstarter to collect support from roughly 3,300 nonindustry donors.

According to the Times-Tribune, the “Gasland” creators issued a statement saying that Mr. Fox refused contact with Mr. McAleer, the two directors starting a feud of their own. 

According to a recent University of Texas study, drilling operations are using an increasing amount of water - a key part of the fracking process. 





Although the recent drilling boom suggests this rate would continue to skyrocket, a 97-page study, funded by the Texas Oil and Gas Association asserts that around 2020 the amount of water used for fracking will begin to level off; a prediction based upon the rapid development of wastewater recycling technology and a decrease in the drilling boom.





The new study may deter some from the environmentally dangerous process, Jean-Philippe Nicot, a research scientist with the Bureau of Economic Geology and the lead author of the study, announced that the latest information, “doesn’t change the high-level picture,” as gas companies will continue to use water during their fracking operations until restrictions are imposed upon them.





This newest report will be closely tied to the state’s new water plan, due in 2017.





While few sanctions for wastewater have hit gas companies so far, the backlash against the brackish water left in the wake of fracking has recently come under criticism across the country.

According to a recent University of Texas study, drilling operations are using an increasing amount of water - a key part of the fracking process. 

Although the recent drilling boom suggests this rate would continue to skyrocket, a 97-page study, funded by the Texas Oil and Gas Association asserts that around 2020 the amount of water used for fracking will begin to level off; a prediction based upon the rapid development of wastewater recycling technology and a decrease in the drilling boom.

The new study may deter some from the environmentally dangerous process, Jean-Philippe Nicot, a research scientist with the Bureau of Economic Geology and the lead author of the study, announced that the latest information, “doesn’t change the high-level picture,” as gas companies will continue to use water during their fracking operations until restrictions are imposed upon them.

This newest report will be closely tied to the state’s new water plan, due in 2017.

While few sanctions for wastewater have hit gas companies so far, the backlash against the brackish water left in the wake of fracking has recently come under criticism across the country.