Many say Montana is on the verge of an oil boom. That could mean jobs and millions of dollars for the state, but for towns in the boom area, many aren't ready to handle the people and the traffic oil brings with it.
NBC Montana went to Williston, North Dakota, to see firsthand the struggles towns face when the boom hits. It turns out Montana towns could learn a few lessons from their neighbors to the east who are already experiencing growing pains from the resurgence of oil.
Clint Perkins is thankful the oil boom hit North Dakota. It has helped keep his auto business running. Perkins says, "Fact is, there's several weeks through the winter that if there wasn't work on the oil trucks it would've been disastrous. So this is a great thing for the local economy."
Perkins doesn't even live in North Dakota; he lives in Glendive off I-94. It's on the edge of Montana's share of the Bakken oil fields. Across the state line in Williston, North Dakota, what residents call the "Bakken Boom" has been in full swing for three years.
Economic developer Tom Rolfstad knows firsthand the trouble the town has had keeping up. Rolfstad says, "(It had been going strong for a few years) and really caught its stride in the last year. To where everybody said this is not just a ordinary boom-bust thing, this is something with legs under it, something that's going to be around for a long time."
Rolfstad says as the nation's economy was tanking, oil drilling was going the opposite direction. Since production picked up in 2008, Rolfstad guesses the population has jumped from around 12,000 people to 17,000. That's not counting the people who commute to work.
Rolfstad says, "I think most people here are supportive of the industry. I think the industry has been pretty good citizens and all that. It's just that the growth is so intense and so quick. How do you catch up to it?"
He didn't think the area would be able to find enough workers. He was wrong. Rolfstad says they have people from every county in Montana, maybe even every state, working oil.
Rolfstad adds, "People from the northwest are used to the kind of weather we have, and generally they're hard-working, industrious people. That's a benefit of it. Specifically I've heard that about guys from the lumber mills. They really fit in well because they're used to working hard. Used to the outdoors."
With the influx of people, the town is struggling to support the growing population. Workers are staying anywhere they can - hotels, RV parks, even temporary housing like Halliburton's Muddy River Lodge, nothing more than shipping containers tied together, have become home sweet home for hundreds of workers.
Rolfstad says, "You can't get enough housing. You can't get enough subdivisions. You can't get enough workers at restaurants and retail stores. Everybody is kind of playing catch up."
It has been so big in North Dakota, Montana is already seeing cash come its way because of it.
Clint Perkins says, "There's people coming here looking for housing and we really don't have any just yet. There are people working on that problem and trying to add more housing to the area."
While some residents in Glendive would welcome oil developers, they know it could put a strain on the town.
Perkins adds, "Our infrastructure here in Glendive, we can handle some influx. We're going to go through some growing pains already."
Gov. Brian Schweitzer says this is a problem no one else in the country is dealing with.
Schweitzer says, "There are mayors across America that would like the problem we have in eastern Montana and western North Dakota where you can't find enough people for all the jobs. Where you can't find enough houses for all the people to live in. Where more people are arriving everyday for more jobs that are being created every day."
The Bakken Boom has brought jobs and millions of dollars into local economies. Many hope that what's happening in western North Dakota can happen in eastern Montana.