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North Dakota Legislators get a close-up look of the Oil Patch

BISMARCK -- A dozen North Dakota Republican lawmakers spent the past two days touring cities in the Oil Patch to learn more about the oil industry and to hear about the challenges of growth from local officials.

Legislators made stops in Stanley, Tioga, Williston, Alexander, Watford City and Killdeer during their bus tour, which included touring a rig, staying overnight in a crew camp and visiting with area residents.

House Republican Caucus Leader Mike Nathe of Bismarck said the trip was unique because it brought together House leadership and chairmen and vice chairmen of committees that can help the region.

"It's been great," Nathe said Thursday. "The guys have been loving every minute of it."

House Majority Leader Al Carlson of Fargo said legislators hear about the Oil Patch during hearings but it's important to see it firsthand.

"What we see is a lot of requests for money, but we don't always see the other side of the story," he said. "There's a lot of successes out here, too."

Individual legislators paid for the trip, not the state or the oil industry, Nathe said.

Legislators will share information from the trip with the rest of the caucus, Carlson said.

The next legislative session begins in January.

Teri Finneman is a

multimedia reporter for

Forum Communications Co.