The Helena Independent Record reported this week that state oil and natural gas leases brought in $7.9 million dollars to education funding this year. The state has potential to create many Montana jobs, and rake in millions in new funds for education by leasing these state school trust lands to people who want to develop the vast wealth that currently rests right under the feet of central and eastern Montanans. The Bakken oil field, which lies below Montana and North Dakota, is one of the largest oil reserves in the world, and it is relatively untapped. Treasure State Politics has reported previously on the benefits of developing the Bakken oil field in Montana. This report just proves what most Montanans know; developing our energy resources will create Montana jobs and strengthen Montana’s education system. Even our not so business friendly Governor weighed in on the report, stating:
“They believe there’s some more shale opportunity like the Bakken all across central Montana, so central Montana bids have exploded,” Gov. Brian Schweitzer said.
If oil is found, production in the shale would create longer-term jobs, not the boom-and-bust cycles of the oilfields, Schweitzer said.
Hopefully when Governor Schweitzer is termed out in 2012, Montana’s business sector will become more confident in the future of the state, as Governor Schweitzer has made businesses skeptical throughout his 8 years by constantly speaking one way and acting the opposite with regards to regulations. One of the decisions that Montanan’s will have to weigh before voting for our next governor in 2012, is where they stand on the issue of development and support for our education system. The Democratic front-runner, Steve Bullock, has not support either in his role as Attorney General. He has, among other things, voted against developing Otter Creek Coal, which was introduced in the Montana Senate by one of his gubernatorial challengers, Corey Stapleton. This would have brought vast amounts of money into our state and education system.