Stateline Midwest ~ April 2013

Over the two sessions that Wisconsin lawmakers considered passage of controversial new mining legislation, the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Tom Tiffany, heard hours of testimony from both sides. But he says that perhaps the most powerful story of all came from a northern Wisconsin family.

To make a living, Tiffany recounts, the father has been leaving home for work hundreds of miles away in North Dakota, for fracking jobs in the Bakken oil shale.

Why not try to bring those types of jobs to Wisconsin? Tiffany and other supporters of SB 1 argued. In the end, they won out — but barely. Opposition to the measure was strong, with the bill passing by the narrowest of margins in the Senate (17-16).

Stateline Midwest ~ May 2012

Recent fracking-related legislation in Midwest »

North Dakota's efforts to meet increased infrastructure needs, plan for post-fracking boom »


Over the past three years, the hometown of North Dakota Republican Rep. Patrick Hatlestad has doubled in population size.

Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have created new domestic energy frontiers and made the United States a net energy exporter for the first time in more than 60 years. Although the process has been used for decades to stimulate production from declining wells, new technological advancements have rapidly accelerated the development of unconventional reserves of fossil fuels that were either unknown or considered uneconomic just a few years ago. Despite the excitement over the potential economic benefits are underlying public safety and environmental concerns.

As the process of hydraulic fracturing becomes more prevalent, several municipal governments are using their local zoning power to restrict or prohibit resource exploration. Many of these new local ordinances conflict with state permitting authority; however, some state statutes may be ambiguous when it comes to regulating oil and natural gas exploration.


As the use of hydraulic fracturing—or fracking—has grown, and as the practice has become more controversial, states have taken action in three primary ways.