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Letter: Mark-ups take advantage of economic situation and of people

Recently I watched a news segment on our local television network that concerned the Southwest Water Pipeline in Dickinson.

I watched with a growing sense of outrage as they talked about raising their rates for water from $5 per 1,000 gallons to $15 per 1,000 gallons.

I do not believe that Dickinson, raising its fees to this degree, is in keeping with the Southwest Water Authorities' mission to support business. It is another example of the greed that seems to have taken over in the area.

Everything from groceries to rent has taken a quantum leap in the West due to the oil industry.

I can understand a certain degree of mark-up in prices, but what we see is nothing less than gouging. When rent for a home, in a small town, goes from $350 a month to $1,250 a month can there be any other explanation than simple greed? We are not just taking advantage of an economic situation, we are taking advantage of people.

We are fortunate in North Dakota to have a stable economy and so perhaps we choose not to recognize the difficulties the rest of the country faces and that some of the people who have come to North Dakota have done so in order to save what they have at home.

We seem to have forgotten that not all people are working in the oil industry, not everyone is getting terrific pay, and that the rise in prices is hurting a good number of people.

It galls me that communities that are within the Southwest Water Pipeline system are selling water that farmers and ranchers in this area still do not have. We will be told that the selling of the water allows further development of the system and that we must be patient and wait.

We were approached in the early 1980s to give our support to the Southwest Water Pipeline idea. We did and still do. Many in our area, farmers and ranchers who lived with hauling water or drinking water unsafe for them, signed onto the project. Many gave good faith money to see this project off the ground. We knew we would have to wait and we understood that, but we have waited almost 30 years and it is becoming difficult to remain patient.

I understand supporting business, including the oil industry, but the oil industry is finite and in the end the farmers and ranchers will still be here and I fear we will still not have water.

Shelley Flaget, Halliday