The pace and level of impact from the rapidly expanding oil industry started with North Dakota’s northern counties (the Bakken Region extends west into Montana and north into Canada), and is moving south. A second wave of oil-related investment and growth is anticipated from the Three Forks and Tyler Formations. Small communities are especially struggling with the impact of this development.
The timing and focus of the planning activities, financed through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Substantiality Planning Grant and the ND Energy Development Infrastructure and Impact Grant Fund programs as well as in-kind contributions are critical for western North Dakota.
The Region is proposing a six-initiative approach to address emerging growth challenges:
- Economic Development/Diversification Strategic Plan
- Infrastructure Needs Planning
- Planning and Zoning Recommendations
- Individual Project Schematics
- Entrepreneurship Initiative
- Regional Strategic Plan
Combined, this initiative is designed to:
- Address immediate, short-term needs of communities to meet growth management challenges
- Capitalize on one of America’s strongest rural economies for entrepreneurial development
- Set the stage for economic diversification based on the strength of the oil and agriculture industries
- Support livability and environmental objectives
- Establish a diversified economy in the future - looking past the current oil boom