Big Trouble in Little North Dakota
Posted on May 14, 2012
With 18 million Americans unemployed, thousands from across the country are flocking to North Dakota amid an oil boom there. The state now produces more oil than many members of OPEC and could soon make the U.S. the world’s top oil producer. —ARK
To do that, however, the oil fields need more workers than the thinly populated state of North Dakota can possibly supply. Scores of people arrive every day looking for a new start, a second chance in lives wrecked by personal troubles and the recession.
“A new guy can come out here and fall off a turnip truck and make $50,000, $60,000 easy as long as he can pass a piss test and tie his boots up,” said Don Beaty, an oil worker from Alaska.
But not everyone is lucky, and the oil rush has brought chaos and big city troubles, like bar fights, prostitution and violent crime, to once placid small towns.
gfpeck (CC BY-ND 2.0)
An oil pumper near Ray, N.D.