The Bakken oil boom, and how it affects Montana's economy, is the center of a new class at Montana State University.
The online course, called Montana's Oil Boom, will explore the environmental and societal issues of Bakken development- and how it impacts the nation's energy policy.
The class will also cover eastern Montana geology, and the nature of oil deposits.
Course organizer and Geology Professor David Mogk said the Bakken has gotten a lot of good and bad press, so he hopes the course will create an informed discussion on the development in the eastern part of the state.
"On one hand, we have a great economic potential for developing these resources. It can be a great bridge for extending our hydrocarbon resources for decades into the future" Mogk said."On the other hand there are also impacts with respect to the environment and public health."
He said they'll look at the science and geology behind the Bakken formation, the technology of hydrofracking and human health impacts.
The Department of Earth Sciences and MSU Extended University are offering the non-credit, online course. Anyone can sign up. Mogk said he hopes they'll get some participants from the eastern part Montana.
Participants will need to access broadband Internet access from a personal computer.
It'll be held on Tuesdays from 7 to 8:30 pm from January 15th to March 26th, with no class on March 12th.
Each week, a different speaker from the MSU Earth Sciences Department, U.S. Geological Survey and Headwaters Economics will give an interactive presentation. Students can type in questions throughout the programs.
There are no prerequisites to sign up, and cost is $50 or $100 per site license.
Click here to register online, or call 994-6683.