THE BLOG
05/01/2008 01:17 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

What Did Olaf Finsaas Know And When Did He Know It?

Last week a study released by the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that there are up to 4.3 billion barrels of oil in an area that encompasses the North Dakota/Montana border. It was news to everybody, but not to my Grandfather, Olaf Finsaas.

Grandpa was a farmer who moved from Iowa to Fairview, Montana, and though he bought and sold land during his lifetime, he seemed to know intuitively what the USGS just figured out last week, for every time he sold land he held on to the mineral rights, telling anyone who would listen that there was black gold beneath his feet.

He was right, but he died in 1964 and left those rights to his nine children, one of whom is my mother who always reminded her kids that we had better be nice to her in her old age, since she was going to one day be an oil heiress. Looks like she may have been right.

So, my grandfather, a very wise old farmer who spent a lifetime working the land, gets the last laugh and if what he knew, and our government just figured out can wean us off of foreign oil, reduce the insane prices I'm paying at the pump and make my Mom an oil heiress, somewhere her Dad must be smiling.

And I'll continue to wonder: how did he know it, when did he know it and why did it take our government 50 years to figure out what Olaf Finsaas knew?