After watching a video about North Dakota’s oil boom and the various safety concerns that come along with it, students answer questions related to environmental disaster risks versus energy demands.
This lesson is part of "Great States | North Dakota | Unit 6: Agriculture and Economy" where students will learn about the major resources and enterprises that form the basis of North Dakota’s economy.
4.3.2: Identify ways that natural resources (e.g., soil, minerals, trees, fish, people) contribute to the economy of the local community and North Dakota
8.3.3: Evaluate how economic opportunities (e.g., manufacturing, agricultural, business) impact North Dakota and other regions (e.g., Midwest, Northeast)
8.3.4: Describe factors (e.g., climate, population, tax laws, natural resources) governing economic decision making in North Dakota and other regions (e.g., Midwest, Southeast)
- Video: Crude Oil Brings Boom Times and Safety Concerns to North Dakota
- Image: Bakken Shale Formation of North Dakota
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or other type of screen to project videos to the class
- Class set of Safety Concerns from North Dakota’s Oil Boom handout
Tell students they will be watching a video about the risks and benefits of oil production in the United States. Explain that on average North Dakota produces over 1 million barrels of crude oil each day.
Distribute the Safety Concerns from North Dakota’s Oil Boom handout and instruct students to take notes related to the safety concerns about transporting oil by rail.
Play the video, Crude Oil Brings Boom Times and Safety Concerns to North Dakota [9:37].
Have students answer the questions on the handout.
Project the image Bakken Shale Formation of North Dakota to help students label the map on their handout.
Gasoline for transportation, fuel for jet engines [4:05]
Trend: there is a dramatic increase in amount of crude oil transported by rail. Reason: There is more oil being extracted from places like North Dakota, which are far from pipeline infrastructure. [3:00]
- Train cars – Risk: train accidents can happen, destroying buildings and killing people. [2:36]
Pipeline – Risk: they can leak and pollute; Downfall: new construction, regulatory approval. [4:10]
- North Dakota transports by rail because they don’t have traditional pipeline infrastructure, and most of the North Dakota’s crude oil needs to travel hundreds of miles to be refined, and railways are the best existing transportation for these exports to get to their destination. [3:56]
- The older cars pose a safety issue because they are more likely to rupture in a crash. [5:40]
- Safety precautions
- Avoiding the use of older train cars [6:28]
- Proper testing for oil flammability [7:11]
- Slower train speeds [8:10]
- Enhanced braking systems [8:10]
- Slow down oil production [8:26]
- Make safer train cars [8:50]