New Western Series: Boomtown

There’s a new documentary series airing currently on Planet Green. The series, Boomtown, is set in Parshall, North Dakota, and tells the story of the small town’s dilemma in the face of determined oil industry interest in setting up shop. The series airs on Saturday nights on Planet Green, the first episode airing this past week. I haven’t seen a full episode, yet, but the Planet Green website has posted several brief “webisodes,” brief clips from the episode that aired most recently. The most interesting of these may be “The Price of Drilling: No Rights,” which focuses on one of the surface landowners, a rancher named Donny who finds the drilling disruptive of his use of his own land, especially in terms of danger to his cattle (we see the cows chewing blithely on a live electrical cord at one point).

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One Response to “New Western Series: Boomtown”

  1. John Says:

    I have watched the 1st 4 episodes with great interest as I was involved with the drilling team in the Parshall area on the intial 5 wells and have worked in the oil industry for 33 years in this area. A great deal of change has occurred which was portrayed somewhat accurately. I have empathy for the non mineral owners. I feel that the show was slanted to show how evil oil has all the rights when indeed it is the mineral owners who have the rights. It was stated the surface owners receive no payments. This is untrue as they get a payment for surface damage for road and pad built and also gets a yearly check for acreage. The rancher whose family owned the farm for 100 years and had no minerals if it was bought 100 years ago with no minerals is unlikely, than some family member chose to sell them instead of lease this benefit was never mentioned. It is true surface owners don’t get the big money and their life has disruptions during drilling but all land owners are aware of this situation when they own or purchase land in this area. A boom of this magnitude causes many changes and hardships but many of the problems i.e. traffic and large equipment diminish greatly after drilling is completed. To show someone proclaiming the land is wrecked with salt and show some one tasting the ground and saying its salty is ludicrous. Do a study on how much farmland has been permanently damaged in 50 years of drilling In North Dakota and present that, this is just an attempt for sympathy not science. As a long time worker in the field I know the real story of how much hard work is done to cause minimum destruction and damage. I also think the backers of Dakota resource council should be identified. I would like this documentary to be reshot every 5 years with a little better balance.


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