January 1, 2012

County should prepare for an oil ‘stampede’

By Suzanne Werre, BHG News Service

At a county-wide meeting held at the Underwood City Hall last Thursday, the oil patch area in western North Dakota, particularly around the Stanley and Tioga area, was described as a “bison stampede,” by Mountrail County commissioner Greg Boschee---and not the good kind of Bison stampede that wins national football championships. Boschee was in Underwood addressing an audience of about 100 people from throughout McLean  County as a part of the NDSU Extension Service’s  “Taking Charge of Your Community’s Future” presentation, aimed at giving county leaders and citizens a little heads-up about what could, and probably will, be heading to McLean County---the Bakken formation oil boom. “What you’ve got to remember with oil is, you’ve got to work with them,” Boschee said.  “Sometimes they’re hard to work with. Sometimes they’re fantastic.” His main point throughout his talk was “be prepared.” Be prepared to handle the hundreds of new people who may suddenly be looking to move to your town.  Be prepared for housing shortage. Where will all those new people live? Be prepared for infrastructure needs. Will the city’s current infrastructure be able to handle an influx of hundreds of new people?  Will the cities’ water and sewer systems be able to handle hundreds of more people? Will McLean County find itself filled with “man camps” like McKenzie and Mountrail County? Get the rules in place now, Boschee said, to avoid the problems McKenzie and Mountrail County have encountered. For example, emergency and police services will have to be increased to handle all the new people. The local EMS departments will probably need to be looking to hire some full-time people because of the increase in ambulance runs, said Boschee.


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