Energy Tour Day 2

Walking in SidneyToto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Fort Lauderdale. Waking up in Lewistown, Montana might not be the typical spring break destination, but staring out at the beauty of the geographic center of our state with the sun shining will never disappoint.

The first item on today’s itinerary was breakfast with local attorneys. I had the opportunity to chat with the only female lawyer in private practice here. She shared with us how she came to Montana, and why she would never leave (hint – it’s the same reasons we all live here). I enjoyed hearing how she ended up in a general law practice, even though she came out of school with a business law focus, and how happy she is that life brought her to where she is today.

After breakfast we started the long drive to visit the oil industry around Sidney, Montana. We stopped in the small town of Jordan for a wonderful lunch and a nice walk in the warm afternoon sun. Aside from the law, we have learned a lot of interesting Montana facts during this trip. For example, did you know that one of the first Tyrannosaurus Rex fossils was found in Jordan in 1902?

Walking in SidneyThe journey continued as we traveled along the beautiful eastern Montana countryside. A destroyed belt on the bus halted our journey, and just as we began to wonder if this would be the start to a classic “lost in the middle of nowhere” story we discovered our first working oil well. We couldn’t have planned a better introduction to the oil law portion of the trip.

Thankfully, we were back on the road in no time and arrived in Sidney to meet with the county planner. It was interesting to hear from a non-lawyer about how the oil boom has affected Richland County. She explained to us the challenges local government has to face when a large influx of people arrive to live and work. While Sidney has seen many improvements in its local economy due to the oil boom, it was comforting to hear that the small town Montana feel hasn’t been completely replaced. One of the most important messages I’ve taken away from this trip has been that there are two sides to energy production and the biggest challenge is massaging the desires of both sides so that everyone’s needs are met.

In the classroomI feel like we have been on the road for three or four days already, but it’s only Day 2! Tomorrow morning we will have breakfast with a large group of local Sidney attorneys, learning how they practice law in the hustle and bustle of the oil boom. Then it is off to the oil fields with lawyers from the Crowley Fleck law firm. We were told to wear boots for our field trip, I wonder what they have in store for us…

Written by: Mike Pasque '16