Gold Rush Identity

1867 Words8 Pages
Taylor Felt Ms. Stubbs Wilderness and the American Identity 15 December 2015 As you drive down US Highway 2 through the western region of North Dakota, miles and miles of agricultural fields and open plains will greet you. You check your dashboard: 03/21/02, 2:30 pm. You have been driving for over 4 hours, and the more you drive, the more indifferent you become to the seemingly boring surrounding and soon, you are unable to pick out any specifics of anything from the landscape. That is, until you finally reach signs of civilization. The sign says: “Welcome to Williston, ND.” But, just as soon as you saw the sign, in he blink of an eye, the sign and the entire town are behind you and again, you are welcomed back on the road by the now familiar…show more content…
The Gold Rush was one of the great movements westward, one that marked an American tendency of uprooting one’s life in the pursuit of wealth. Over 100 years later, the turn of the century marked another great exodus that paralleled that of 1849. The motivation for this movement is no longer a lust for gold but now, a thirst for oil. Within the past seven years, North Dakota has seen the largest oil boom in modern history; small, sleepy Midwest towns have been turned into booming oil towns accompanied by the backdrop of constantly working drilling rigs, a sight that used to only be seen in the oil rich Middle East. Thousands of jobs were created by this new industrialization and North Dakota’s economy is flourishing. But, aside from the benefits that the industry has brought, the oil boom, and the widespread use of hydraulic fracturing, has exposed many underlying issues. With the population rising, crime rates have soared; there are more burglaries, rapes and drug trafficking than the state has ever seen. But the issues don’t stop there: the controversial practice of fracking has come under fire as evidence points to fracking as the cause for both harmful air and water contamination. The effects of fracking have not only affected the people living in the North Dakota oil-towns, but also the animals, and the flora and fauna that have been gravely impacted as well. However, to completely eliminate fracking, at least in the short term, is not a reasonable possibility; therefore, it is imperative that short term solutions: such as greater regulation on fracking infrastructure, more police officers to curb crime and a movement towards more traditional oil drilling is imperative. In the mean time, as these “Band-Aid” solutions are implemented, the entire oil industry should work to more sustainable,
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