How Does North Dakota Overcome Their Oil Woes?

The Bakken Formation, home to the sixth highest emitting oil and gas project in the country, sees growing environmental and health issues.



What is your favorite thing to do in North Dakota?

A few months ago, The Guardian did a five-month investigation into “carbon bombs,” or fossil fuel projects that would, over the course of their life, emit over one billion tons of carbon. They found that there are 195 planned oil and gas carbon bombs around the world, and if they proceed as planned, these projects alone would blow past internationally agreed upon climate targets. For our sixth deep dive on carbon bombs, we take a look at the Bakken Formation: a 200,000 square mile region spanning northwestern North Dakota, northeastern Montana, and southern Saskatchewan that is home to the sixth highest emitting oil and gas project in the United States. The oil industry in the Bakken began recently and grew fast, creating environmental and health issues in the region and turning once peaceful rural communities into crime-ridden messes. Today, we explore why the Bakken Formation became so popular, what challenges the region faces, and how the region can achieve a more environmentally and economically prosperous future. With special guest Dr. Wesley Blundell: Assistant Professor of Economic Sciences at Washington State University.

The Sweaty Penguin is presented by Peril and Promise: a public media initiative from The WNET Group in New York, reporting on the issues and solutions around climate change. You can learn more at

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Writers: Megan Crimmins, Maddy Schmidt, Ethan Brown

Fact Checker: Sarika Sawant

Editor: Megan Antone

Producers: Ethan Brown, Megan Crimmins, Shannon Damiano, Maddy Schmidt

Ad Voiceover: Megan Antone

Music: Brett Sawka



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The Sweaty Penguin
The Sweaty Penguin is a digital news source and podcast aiming to make environmental issues less overwhelming and politicized and more accessible and fun.


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