I am writing this letter to let people know that not everyone in Mountrail County sees only good in our current oil boom.
Negative impacts include road damage and the lack of housing. Another negative result is the change from an agricultural area to an industrial area.
When oil activity moves into your area, you will be living in a perpetual construction zone. There are the sites to build, plus roads to the sites, powerlines, pipelines and possibly compressor stations, gas plants, shops, pipeyards, gravel pits and housing.
A lot of decisions are not made locally. The well locations, including disposal wells, are decided by the state. The Legislature has given the State Industrial Commission the sole power to decide where and how many wells will be drilled.
Not everyone in the local communities are benefiting financially. Some businesses have higher sales and also higher expenses. They have to pay higher wages to compete with oilfield wages. Some businesses are providing employee housing to be able to obtain and retain employees.
Another concern is safety. There is risky driving. There are spills from trucks overturning on the icy roads and spills on sites. We are only told that they are cleaned up promptly and there is no danger. We do not know what was in the spill or what is released in the basically unrestricted gas flaring.
My request to the Industrial Commission and the Department of Mineral Resources is this:. Please slow down. Please balance the financial gain against the quality of life for the people living in that area providing those financial gains.
We who have lived here all our lives do not care that there are more rigs this month than last month or how many barrels of oil are being produced. The predictions of these statistics increasing do not fill us with joy, because we value other things. We are told how many jobs are created by each drilling rig, but we do not have a sufficient labor force or housing now. We have a budget surplus, so we do not need the income now.
Maybe the price of oil will double in a year or so. Would we not rather produce it at that price? I urge anyone who feels the same as I do, to let your opinions be known.
Dorothy Ventsch, New Town