Monday, November 19, 2012

Decker coal mine in Montana laying off workers -- meanwhile, Bakken jobs are projected to boom

While this may not be directly related to the war on coal that the Obama administration has waged, it certainly couldn't have helped: the Decker coal mine in southeastern Montana is laying off 75 workers.

The increased regulation laid on coal-burning electricity plants by the EPA have already cost a good number of workers in Billings their jobs at PPL's plant, now scheduled to be mothballed. And now, another set of workers in a major southeastern Montana coal mine. Many of them live in the Sheridan area, but as everyone knows, folks in Sheridan come to Billings all the time for shopping, medical care, and other services that are found here in the nearest "big city" to Sheridan and surrounds.

Meanwhile (hat tip to Bruce Oksol at Million Dollar Way), the Bakken is going to be producing 50,000 new jobs by 2015.

Bismarck State College is teaming up with Williston State, Fort Berthold, Sitting Bull and Turtle Mountain Colleges to provide necessary training.

"This is probably one of the biggest and most important partnerships that we`ve had with the state institutions. And it should have happened a long time ago," said Fort Berthold Community College President Russell Mason

The multiplier effect of energy development (like any economic development) thus shows itself in a positive effect on tribal and other area colleges.

Of course, none of this is thanks to the federal government (in spite of the President standing in line to take credit for increased domestic oil production.) Also thanks to Bruce over at Million Dollar Way: of 187 rigs currently drilling in North Dakota, only 3 or 4 are on federal land. (Unless you count reservation land as federal land -- which you shouldn't, since its use should be determined solely by the tribes involved.) I would point out that there is not a lack of federal land in North Dakota -- the Forest Service has pretty vast tracts of National Grasslands in the western half of the state, and there is some BLM land, too.

As Bruce points out there is perhaps some Intelligent Design involved favoring North Dakota, allowing for "sweet spots" of Bakken drilling to be located outside federal land.

The full article is in the Minot Daily News.

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