So Fremont is the site of the gleaming headquarters of Solyndra, the solar panel firm promoted by an Obama megacontributor, which got a $535 million loan guarantee from Obama’s stimulus package.
But the wave of the future turned out to be a stagnant puddle. Solyndra went bankrupt. Meanwhile, Fremont, like most of coastal California, has had continual outmigration to other states and has grown only due to immigrants. It grew only 6 percent between 2000 and 2011.
If the Obama folks back in 2009 thought Fremont was the harbinger of America’s future, one wonders what thoughts they had, if any, about Williston, ND.
Probably none at all. North Dakota was for many years the state least visited by people from other states, an orderly rural state with about the same population as in 1930. There’s no voter registration because everyone would know if a stranger came in to vote.
On the Missouri River bordering Montana, Williston and surrounding Williams County were quiet farming territory. The county’s population reached 19,000 in 1930, then slumped; it only topped 19,000 again in 2000.
Williams County was the home of Henry Bakken, the farmer after whom the Bakken shale formation was named when it was discovered in 1953. For years, geologists knew there was a lot of oil packed into the shale rock, but it was not economic to get it out.
That changed late in the last decade. Oil companies developed hydraulic fracturing techniques — fracking — that made the Bakken oil commercially valuable. Drilling has been booming, and Williston is the nation’s fastest-growing small city — so fast that it doesn’t have enough housing for the workers pouring in. Williams County grew 23 percent between 2000 and 2011.
This spring, North Dakota became the No. 2 oil-producing state, with lots of natural gas production, as well. It has the nation’s lowest unemployment rate.
Williston is a lot less glamorous place than Fremont. Politically, it voted 67 to 31 percent for John McCain over Barack Obama in 2008.
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment