Tuesday, February 1, 2011

North Dakota Leads The Way

I am on the Empire Builder train from Chicago to Seattle, through North Dakota and Montana. It’s the only way to travel. We have our own private room, toilet and shower facilities, great food from a menu served in the dining car at a table with a table cloth, wine tasting in the afternoon, an observation car, a lounge car, and – as they say – much more.

I didn’t know there was still so much open space in this country. Going through North Dakota and Montana, I saw vast expanses of snow-covered flat land. There is nothing but snow and a very occasional farm house for as far as the eye could see. And one could see a very long distance since the land is flat and there are almost no trees (due to the harsh climate, I guess). You could even see the curvature of the earth by looking off to the horizon from left to right. And we just kept rolling along in comfort. I wonder how the pioneers made it ---- ?

On the way, I read in a local North Dakota newspaper , the Minot Daily News, that North Dakota is now the third largest oil producer in the U.S., after Alaska and Texas. I didn’t know that, did you? Third largest oil producing state. As a result, North Dakota has a recession-proof economy. All through the economic crisis over the last three or four years, unemployment in ND never got above 4.4 %. Meanwhile, unemployment elsewhere in the country peaked at 10% and still is stubbornly high at 9.4%.

Thank you environmentalists.

Development of oil resources is demonized and fought vigorously by that crew. Obama even used the Gulf oil spill (which is completely cleaned up already) as an excuse to put a moratorium on new off-shore oil drilling at a cost of tens of thousands of jobs. Yes, he has now lifted it, but he is still blocking new oil development by means of over-regulation. No new federal permits for off shore exploration or drilling are being issued; ANWAR remains locked; don’t even mention oil shale.

Development of these resources, which can be done in an environmentally responsible way, would create hundreds of thousands of high paying jobs thereby helping hard-working American families and the economy; it would increase tax revenues thus boosting state and federal government budgets dramatically; the trade balance and national security would be improved by reducing our dependence on foreign oil; and this is just for starters. Ask North Dakota.

I guess there in North Dakota the authorities put the well being of the economy and the state budget and people above appeasement of sanctimonious environmental extremists.

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