Montana State University

Researchers to survey communities on local community benefits and costs of oil and gas development

March 22, 2016 -- From MSU News Service

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BOZEMAN – Researchers will be using a mailed survey in Richland County, Montana, and McKenzie County, North Dakota, to collect data to better understand the local community benefits and costs of oil and gas development. The survey asks businesses and landowners about how recent oil activity affected their businesses and farm and ranch operations. The post-boom timing of this study makes it notable as little hard data exists about communities after peak drilling activity, according to Julia Hobson Haggerty, project director and assistant professor of geography at Montana State University.    

The project is made possible through a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). It is not related to other survey research underway at MSU.

Survey areas include the Marcellus shale play in Pennsylvania, the Bakken oil field in North Dakota and Montana, and the Powder River Basin in Wyoming. A four-state team from Pennsylvania State University, Cornell University, MSU and the University of Wyoming is collaborating on the project.  

“While researchers flock to boom towns during oil and gas activity, there are very few investigations of local economies after the rush,” said Hobson Haggerty. “The results will give us information at the local level about how businesses and landowners experience oil and gas development over the long term.”

Surveys will be sent via regular mail in March to randomly selected residences and businesses in each of the areas. Data collected will be anonymous, and no names or addresses will be solicited. 

Survey results will be tabulated by the Survey Research Center of Pennsylvania State University in March, and reports will be available in early summer at the project website:

Contact: Julia Hobson Haggerty,, (406) 994-6904