Leaders brief Tester at hearing
The numerous and interconnected challenges facing communities in the Bakken region in the areas of public safety, economic development and infrastructure were detailed for Sen. Jon Tester at a special hearing on Friday.
Representatives and leaders of more than a dozen municipal, state, tribal and federal agencies and organizations took part on three separate panels during the hearing, answering questions from the senator and presenting their most pressing needs as a result of the increased stress on area services since the oil boom began.
“Our labor force is scrambling. Our unemployment right now is 2.1 percent. This results in extreme stress and pressure on our downtown businesses, as the oilfield draws the workforce away from those downtown jobs that have always been there,” said Leslie Messer, executive director of the Richland Economic Development Corporation.