Stories and Reports

Colorado River
In Crisis

Stories and Reports

The Western
Energy Boom

Stories and Reports

Health Care in
the Rural West

Historical Background

The Country Life Commission

Dear Visitor: This site preserves the legacy publications of the Rural West Initiative from 2009-2014. 
For more recent information on our conference and publications, please go to

Report: Energy Development in the Rural West

"An Unquiet Landscape: the American West's New Energy Frontier"  Watch the interactive video »


Are Western States Getting Fair Return on Energy Development?

With sky-high energy prices driving new oil and gas exploration in the American West, states are struggling to keep pace with critical infrastructure and revenue policies. Working with Montana-based Headwaters Economics, The Rural West Initiative has published a comprehensive multimedia report, combining a rigorous economic and policy analysis with a 31-minute interactive video documentary.

In this Report:

Video Feature

An Unquiet Landscape: the American West’s New Energy Frontier

High energy prices have made advanced drilling technologies profitable, pushing drill bits into parts of the West once believed tapped out, and into new places once thought inaccessible. A look at three communities in North Dakota and Wyoming who find themselves at different stages of an energy boom. 

Note: Our Annotated Video Player, Free and Open Source »


Research Paper

Benefiting from Unconventional Oil: State Fiscal Policy is Unprepared for the Heightened Community Impacts of Unconventional Oil Plays

As oil production from the Bakken formation continues to set records in North Dakota, the sheer pace and scale of the boom is still unfolding. The intensity of industrial activity in western North Dakota translates into mounting concerns about the ability of local and state government to respond to growing infrastructure needs and service demands. In short, the fiscal policies on the books in North Dakota and other states may be especially ill suited to unconventional oil plays.



Last modified Tue, 23 Apr, 2013 at 19:38