New Ranking Finds North Dakota Has No. 2 State Economy in the U.S.

North Dakota has the No. 2 best economy of any U.S. state and is No. 1 for job growth according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 Best States rankings. The annual survey, which ranked North Dakota No. 4 overall, said growing energy production and robust infrastructure were key to the state’s strong performance.

The Peace Garden State has benefited greatly from being at the epicenter of the U.S. shale oil boom. In 2004, oil and gas production accounted for just 2 percent of state’s economy, but by 2014 it was almost 16 percent. Several years ago, while much of the nation was suffering from hard economic times, North Dakota was attracting billions of dollars in investments and workers from around the country.

While falling oil prices have weakened production, North Dakota is still producing over a million barrels a day and has one of the lowest employment rates in the nation. The Bakken boon may have hit slow patch in the road, but the promising opportunities and benefits derived from this remote region are far from over.

Most recently, an analysis by the Associated Press found that cost savings provided by the Dakota Access Pipeline will not only benefit producers, but also amount to a more than $110 million gain in annual tax revenue.

This staggering increase has already lead the state’s budget director to begin crafting spending plans that take the added revenue into account and perhaps leading the state to become the No. 1 economy in the years to come.


Increased Energy Production Underscores Need for DAPL

Domestic crude oil production will grow by an estimated 400,000 barrels per day (b/d) over the next two years according to a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

In the latest edition of the Short-Term Energy Outlook, the EIA said that the U.S. produced averaged an estimated 8.9 million b/d in 2016 and is forecast to rise to 9.0 million b/d in 2017 and 9.3 million b/d in 2018. The upward trend is in part due to increasing tight oil productivity in areas like North Dakota’s Bakken region. According to the EIA, the growth in production is a result of more drilling activity, rig efficiency, and well-level productivity.Growth in domestic production continues to be huge asset to the U.S. economy, sending gas prices to historic lows, stimulating the manufacturing sector, and allowing American foreign policy to be conflicted by the nation’s energy needs. However, this uptick, particularly in the Bakken region, cannot be sustained without the necessary pipeline infrastructure needed to safely and efficiently move resources to critical refining markets across the country.

The state-of-the-art Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) will support American energy independence in a way that guarantees protections for both our communities and the environment.


Environmental Fears Over DAPL Overblown

The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is more than just a pipeline. It is a political hot potato. There are a lot of issues underlying the DAPL conversation, including indigenous peoples’ access to ancestral lands, environmental concerns of a potential spill, water rights, and social justice.

One false assumption is that rejecting the DAPL would result in fossil fuels staying in the ground. The lack of a pipeline has not stopped growth in oil production from the Bakken shale formation yet. This oil is currently transported by rail or road, where it has a significantly higher chance of spillage, explosion or tragedy. Higher prices will be passed on to consumers, a regressive policy that inordinately affects the poorest citizens.

Climate change activists have also entered the fray. Anti-fossil fuels advocate Bill McKibben said the pipeline couldn’t pass “a climate test” and the Center for Biological Diversity has made DAPL a touchstone of its aggressive climate campaign. Wouldn’t it be great to see the numbers behind the rhetoric?

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