Halliburton recently announced plans to hire 11,000 people to work on oil development projects in Montana and North Dakota. U.S. Senator Jon Tester, D-Mont., is pushing Halliburton to hire Montanans as the energy industry giant pursues energy exploration projects along the Bakken oil shale formation in eastern Montana.

In a letter to Halliburton Chairman and CEO David J. Lesar, Tester said Halliburton should “look no further than the Big Sky State to find the right folks” to fill open positions. The senator also provided Halliburton with a list of individuals who can connect the company with ready-to-work Montanans, including career counselors at Montana colleges and representatives from trade unions.

The senator believes development of the Bakken formation will be a way to responsibly increase domestic oil production and move the United States toward energy independence.