It’s a staple quality for the people of the midwest to be polite and North Dakota likes to live up to that title. They even have billboards that encourage politeness, but John Oliver has a problem with that slogan when it comes to the state’s new booming oil industry.
In his new “Last Week Tonight” segment Oliver takes the state to task for its lack of oversight and regulations on the oil companies that have infiltrated the state over the past few years. North Dakota’s oil supply has reduced the United States’ dependency on foreign oil by nearly half — but it has come at a cost to the state.
Farm land has been ruined with the lack of environmental regulations on the companies. On average, an oil worker dies every six weeks out on the field. “Last Week Tonight” found footage of one man who works with explosives on an oil rig and had been stuck on a job site for 69 hours straight. However, if a mishap were to occur — like it did to a 21-year-old man working on an Oasis oil site — the oil companies in North Dakota have successfully hired subcontractors so they escape virtually any fines or deterrents for not creating a safe work environment.
It is a stellar recipe for disaster, thus Oliver is offering North Dakota some stern advice: Stop being polite.
“North Dakota please listen. I get it. You’re friendly and that’s fantastic. You have billboards that say ‘Be Polite’ and that’s wonderful, but this has gone too far,” he says. “Oil companies need to be held accountable. A fine is no good if it’s a drop in the bucket, especially because knowing these companies now they will probably miss that bucket and somehow make someone else pay to clean up the f***ing mess.”
“I would like to suggest to you a new approach. Stop being polite and start getting mad. Get pissed. People are dying and land is getting ruined…Do it.”
To make sure that the people of North Dakota get the message, “Last Week Tonight” has purchased a billboard on a real North Dakota highway that reads “Get angry. (Please.)”