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Ryan Bakken, Forum Communications, Published November 25 2012

Ryan Bakken: North Dakota envy of the nation, if only ads were true

GRAND FORKS - I’m not a big fan of television commercials because most are annoying, lies and, at the very least, interrupt Wheel of Fortune.

But there’s one commercial more onerous than the rest, even those nasty political spots in October and November that fell prey to the mute button. It’s the North Dakota Oil Can bit sponsored by the North Dakota Petroleum Council. The problem is with the words, not the production.

The commercial’s opening line is: “There are 50 states and all of them want to be North Dakota.”

Really? All of them?

Would Hawaii residents choose to trade their weather, their beaches and their bikinied beach walkers to have more oil?

Would New Yorkers give up Broadway, the Catskills and the Yankees for property tax relief because of oil?

Would even image-challenged Nebraska swap its corn for our oil-field jobs and royalties?

I’m not even sure North Dakota wants to be North Dakota. If oil is the standard, wouldn’t we prefer being Texas, the No. 1 oil-producing state?

Don’t get me wrong; I love North Dakota. I proudly defend it with my otherwise mostly Minnesota-based relatives and friends.

However, I lack the audacity to suggest that our state’s oil prompts jealousy from inhabitants of the other 49 states (although I’m confident we’re superior to the District of Columbia).

Besides, has the Petroleum Council noticed that there are downsides to these oil field riches, such as crime, fatal accidents, pollution and $15 frozen pizzas?

I understand the council’s mission of putting the prettiest face possible on their product. But I doubt that California is going to empty because of our roughneck job opportunities.

I probably shouldn’t be riling up Petroleum Council executives since Forum Communications benefits from these commercials. But I still have an ace in the hole.

I could sue for non-payment of naming rights to the Bakken Formation.

Reach Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1125; or send e-mail to rbakken@gfherald.com.