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'Best Fracking State In The Union': North Dakotans Pitch New License Plate Slogans

Feb 27, 2013
Originally published on February 27, 2013 3:57 pm
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Discover the spirit. That's the slogan printed on North Dakota's license plates, along with an image of a buffalo and a stalk of wheat. Those plates have looked the same for 20 years.


But state lawmakers have proposed changing the design. And so North Dakotans are brainstorming alternatives to discover the spirit.

BLOCK: Nick Hirchert is among those pitching suggestions. He writes for the FM Observer, a satirical news publication in Fargo. One of Hirchert's ideas is a tribute to North Dakota's infamously harsh weather: If the winter doesn't kill you, the flood will.

NICK HIRCHERT: It'll snow and snow and snow and then the snow won't melt until, heck, probably about April. And then once the snow all melts, it pools into a giant flood lake and the Red River gets so high to the point that we have to sandbag it.

CORNISH: And not to be outdone by neighboring Minnesota's slogan: Land of 10,000 lakes...

HIRCHERT: Land of 10 bazillion oil barrels.

BLOCK: North Dakota has no lack of black gold underground. Hirchert envisioned that petroleum surplus reflected on car license plates.

HIRCHERT: Best fracking state in the union.


CORNISH: North Dakota's prosperous oil economy has helped fill the state's coffers, and then some. So why not flaunt it?

HIRCHERT: The slogan would be: We have more budget money than you. And it kind of pokes fun at all the budget surplus the state has experienced.

BLOCK: Experienced last year to the tune of $1.6 billion.

HIRCHERT: Kind of also pokes fun at the fact that, well, they've got enough to spend millions on a license plate redesign as well.


CORNISH: Hirchert would also change the look of the plates. No more buffalo and wheat for him. He'd replace those images with a giant snowman and an oil derrick.


BLOCK: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.