Oil booms and man camps, life in North Dakota

Denver Post | May 6, 2014 | Post by Katie Wood

“While the rest of the country stumbles and looks for work, it seems  can’t fill enough jobs,” explains Getty Images photojournalist 

An oil drilling rig on the morning of July 30, 2013 near Watford City, North Dakota. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images) #

North Dakota is currently experiencing an economic heyday, in part due to an  that has helped the state maintain the lowest unemployment rate in the country since 2008. Thousands of jobs and opportunities have been created there. People come from all over the country in search of employment, often leaving their families behind. But the surge in economic gains has also brought more crime and drug use to the area along with an imbalance in the population. Men outnumber women by nearly thirty percent. Many oil workers live in “man camps,” often times without running water or electricity because of a lack of housing. And most work 12-hour shifts for 14 days straight, then take 14 days off.

“It seemed to be an interesting confluence of social, economic, political and environmental issues,” says Burton, who completed his story there last July.

Burton acknowledges that it was tricky getting people in North Dakota on board with the story. “A lot of people and companies had reservations and worries that I was an environmental activist,” he says. In the end, however, Burton managed to get enough companies and people to work with him, “I found meeting in person especially helped. I’m very grateful to the people who helped me.”

Andrew Burton is based in New york and has been working as a staff photojournalist for Getty Images since June 2013. He has covered stories including the war in Afghanistan and the tsunami in Japan as well as the Beijing Olympics and Occupy Wall Street.


Do you like this post?

Be the first to comment

PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy
PAUSE is a grassroots group of individuals who have come together to promote safe, sustainable energy and fight for environmental justice. We engage the greater public to stop the fossil fuel industry’s assault on the people of Albany and our environment.