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Robert Zacher, Fargo, Published April 21 2012

What North Dakota did have to offer is disappearing in greed of oil frenzy

Thank you to The Forum for publishing the April 17 article on the North Dakota 2.0 capstone summit, “Planet Money’s hosts say learn from Norway’s lead” by Helmut Schmidt. North Dakota certainly does need to follow intelligent advice from somewhere about the oil boom in the state.

As far as I have been able to see, the only intelligence used in the oil boom is credited to whomever has the smarts to be the greediest, most deceptive and most destructive for what may now laughingly be called the North Dakota “quality of life.” Any such quality that there was is now going, going and gone in many parts of North Dakota.

Because of the oil boom, the western part of North Dakota is now a certified shambles and an industrial garbage dump. In Fargo and other cities, crime and social problems have rapidly increased, and the entire infrastructure of the state is under severe stress. Meanwhile we have a do-nothing governor and legislators in office who, in the best traditions of agrarian Republicanism, look the other way to take care of their own vested interests and sit on their hands while North Dakota comes tumbling down around their ears.

Has there been any state planning provided or enacted to mitigate any of these oil boom problems? No, except follow the pattern of greed and scoop up as much of the oil tax money as possible and squirrel it away so it can’t be used to spare North Dakota the effects of this disaster.

In the face of all this, the unelected governor most recently called for another round of flat spending giving no attention to the crying need for help in western North Dakota.

What North Dakota did have to offer anyone is in the rapid process of disappearing. That leaves just one reason to be here: Take the money and run.

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