Steve Pine, Bismarck
As our state passes one billion barrels of total Bakken production and marks one million barrels of oil per day, I can't help but think of how far our state has come since I moved back in 1984 when the oil business and nearly every business in North Dakota was in tough shape.
What a different story we can tell today. Our economy is the strongest in the nation and our people and businesses, no matter their field, have more opportunity than ever before.
However, the most rewarding element of the development of our energy industry is the wide benefits bestowed upon social and charitable efforts within the state.
In the Bakken, oil and gas companies, along with their owners and employees, have given millions to benefit their local communities. Their donations are helping to build a new hospital in Dickinson, a daycare in Watford City, and parks and other projects that enhance the quality of life in the Bakken.
The center and eastern portions of our state have benefited as well. With tax revenues and charitable contributions, we have built a pristine addition to the Heritage Center that will give a lasting cultural benefit to our children and grandchildren. Personally, my wife Carla and I have made a special effort to help charities that benefit children, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the God's Child Project, Sanford's Savor the Flavor and the Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, my hometown. And we aren't alone in giving. College foundations across the state have seen the benefits of the Bakken's development. The University of North Dakota in Grand Forks has received multi-million dollar donations to make it a world leading institution for energy education and research. After Minot was devastated by the flood, energy companies made large donations to help the city and individual people recover; and last summer, they again came to help the city by volunteering fleets of equipment and people for cleaning up abandoned lots.
Like production, the charitable benefit of the industry has only begun. We have very bright future with many more good things to come in North Dakota.