Editorial: ND responsible for...where the deer and the antelope playAs with most everything coming out of the western North Dakota oil boom, there were not sufficient plans created in anticipation of what could be. Now what could be has turned into what is. This has caused a sense of scrambling and of trying to keep up.
As with most everything coming out of the western North Dakota oil boom, there were not sufficient plans created in anticipation of what could be.
Now what could be has turned into what is. This has caused a sense of scrambling and of trying to keep up.
The big boom has rattled the area and seems to have snuck up on officials, citizens and the animals roaming the prairie — along with their habitat.
Conservation groups in a Thursday news conference in Bismarck touted their interest in getting a constitutional amendment on the fall ballot in an effort to improve the health of North Dakota’s water and wildlife.
Through this, 5 percent of the state’s oil production and extraction tax revenue would go toward a fund set aside for wildlife and fish habitat, parks, soil conservation and water projects.
A nine-member appointed board would have authority over the fund. To get on the November ballot, 27,000 signatures would be needed on a petition by early August.
Five percent could equal an annual allowance of $51 million to $84 million. This seems like a good investment.
It’s a noble gesture, but lawmakers need to think more heartily about what the drastic landscape changes that come with oil production are doing to habitat long before then — today would be a good start.
Local and state lawmakers are working to pass regulations and spend money on infrastructure improvements hand over fist in an effort to keep a workable relationship between oil and quality of life.
It’s a healthy start to see wildlife becoming a bigger, more important, part of this conversation.
November elections may not seem too far off, but oil production and all that comes with it — traffic, roads, air pollution, leveled land — is picking up pace and caution is needed now
North Dakota’s crude oil output quadrupled in four years. It’s not slowing down.
We commend efforts for a new fund, but lawmakers need to make sure companies are getting permits now and are following the regulations with or without it.
If not, what will this land be like five years from now, once roads, pads and waste pits are a familiar part of it?
The country needs oil, but taking care of what it may leave behind is absolutely part of the process. Just because you create habitat somewhere else does not make up for land we’ve scarred. A balance must be found.
Reclamation will be necessary in areas, but make sure parcels and waterways are set aside free from any oil transformations — be it air, water, ground, noise or sight pollution.
We are fortunate to have Theodore Roosevelt National Park in our backyard. Our own state website flaunts the scenic drives, fishing, hunting and outdoor adventures this state provides. That is why conservation, and not reclamation, is absolute in areas.
Roads and wagon trails created by Col. George Custer and his troops in the 1870s still mark the landscape. What marks will trucks weighing tons leave? Some areas must be kept unblemished.
North Dakota oil has done great things for this state and nation as far as jobs and overall economic health, but taking care of what lives and breathes is part of the process. Yes land and resources are and will continue to be disturbed, but lawmakers need to make sure the corporations are treating land, water, wildlife and, of course, human life with respect. That’s a good start.
Effects on wildlife must be considered with or without a special fund and before the end of the year. Sign the petition and promote the amendment, but think about the future now. It takes more than money.
There is a responsibility to keep energy production here, but there is also the responsibility to keep portions of North Dakota the Wild West it is known to be.
Publisher Harvey Brock and Managing Editor Jennifer McBride are on The Press Editorial Board.