Unconventional Oil and North Dakota Communities: State Fiscal Policy Unprepared for Impacts of Energy Development

This report reviews how states and communities are responding to the growing infrastructure and services needs of the Bakken boom:

  • How high global oil prices and new technology have brought a frenzy of activity to North Dakota.
  • How unconventional oil extraction creates a “treadmill” of drilling activity that increases infrastructure demands on nearby communities.
  • Whether North Dakota’s fiscal policy is adequately prepared to meet the demands of unconventional energy development.
  • Comparitive fiscal policies in North Dakota to Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming.

Headwaters Economics also recently completed a supplemental briefing paperthat looks at the impact of state tax subsidies for oil production, what’s gained or lost, and lessons for federal policy. The North Dakota report was prepared in cooperation with Stanford University’s Bill Lane Center for the American West as part of a larger study: “Are Western Communities Getting a Fair Return on Energy Development?”.

Mark Haggerty

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Kelly Pohl