Letter: Time for North Dakota to restore balance in the Bakken
The days when North Dakota made national news for excellence, integrity and outstanding service to citizens seem a dim memory.
The fracking fray has changed all that, unless we can refocus this debacle as an opportunity to strengthen public service at the state level and restore balance in the Bakken.
North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources has set a different course, however, per Director Lynn Helms’ recent statement on NPR: “We are planning over the next two decades to drill and hydraulically fracture every square mile of that area.”
Does anyone doubt the Bakken debacle is primed for expansion rather than mitigation if he remains at the helm? (Pun intended) And who is the we? Doesn’t he work for us? Or does he identify so strongly with the oil industry that he has forgotten who does the fracking and who does the regulating? Does anyone think we need a course correction in high places? I believe it’s time to call for Mr. Helms’ resignation.
Mr. Helms’ flawed testimony in special session motivated legislators to saddle North Dakota with a $1 million set-aside to sue the Environmental Protection Agency. He now stands corrected by Sen. John Hoeven and the EPA. Meanwhile, in writing, he 1. discredited citizen-funded analyses of degraded air quality near fracking sites. 2. disparaged North Dakota’s media reports of deplorable conditions in the Bakken. 3. misrepresented Health Department interactions with citizens about possible pollution on their property. And why was he speaking for the Health Department anyway?
Enough already. We need change. The time is now.
Mary A. Conrad, Gackle