Life is Changing | VideoAlan Miller | 1/11/2013
Rep. David Drovdal (R - Arnegard) is a busy man. As a legislator, he`s hearing testimony and making decisions. Sometimes, he even delivers testimony. And when it comes to the oil boom, he can see it all from his front steps. " I look out my window and see an oil well that just blew the top off and lost 1,400 barrels of crude oil in my field. And I look out many times and see six to eight flares. And a number of times, I can see up to six oil wells drilling out my window.
Drovdal represents seven counties, which is the largest geographic district in the state. He owns some mineral rights, so he`s profiting from the boom. But many of his friends and neighbors aren`t, and they`re having to pay more for just about everything. They don`t like how things are changing and many have moved away.
"We needed young people, and we`re getting them. Good people coming in, they`re contributing to the community, but they`re just not people that I`ll ever get to know because I don`t run in the same circles any more, and my friends are the same. Our activity in the community is starting to diminish because we`re not in business any more. So we just seem to be strangers in our own community," he said.
Drovdal won`t have many home-cooked meals while he stays in Bismarck, but when he`s home that`s all he has. He says if he were to go to the nearest restaurant in Watford City, it would be a two hour wait just to get a table. "First of all, we don`t know anybody to wait on us, `cause they`re all strangers. Even our post office, we have lines to wait in. We have lines at stop signs, which we didn`t even have stop signs before. Everywhere we go, we`re waiting on things. We used to walk down the street and I`d wave, know everybody driving by, wave at `em. Now you don`t know a soul, and 50 percent of the license plates aren`t even North Dakota license plates."
He says after 80 years of population decline in his area, it`s good to see growth. But a quadrupling of the population in three to four years is difficult to deal with.
And don`t get him started on traffic. To get home, he has to make a left turn on what is now a busy highway. He says while he`s waiting, instead of looking at oncoming traffic, he spends more time looking in his rearview mirror in case an impatient driver swerves into the turn lane to try and pass someone.