Hennen: The 'Bakken Cough' is bogus
"The truth is, oil and gas development, along with all of the energy development in North Dakota is done responsibly and in an environmentally friendly way,"
I have a phrase I use when referring to extreme environmentalists: eco-terrorists.
I started using it during the tragic Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Thousands of people from all over the country claimed to be concerned about water quality in North Dakota, so they protested a pipeline. Pipelines are the safest mode of transport of petroleum products, but who lets facts interrupt a good protest? And most of these protestors used anything but peaceful tactics. Instead, we witnessed terrorizing and vandalizing, plus the despicable treatment of law enforcement. It will live on as a sad chapter in North Dakota. And many in the media "took sides," forgetting the tenets of journalism in favor of fawning over like-minded protestors.
Recently, another example of what lengths eco-terrorists will go to display their disdain for fossil fuels showed up in North Dakota. Democrat state Rep. Lisa Finley-Deville, a well-known critic of oil and natural gas production, claimed that she and her husband fell ill because of natural gas flaring five years ago. The allegations read like a nightmare or a bad movie. Maybe it was.
Finley-Deville claimed that she and her husband had "Bakken Cough" and she says the hospital where they were treated told them that they had also treated "about 15 similar cases" of Bakken Cough. They allege "several children" developed bloody noses that people "suspected" were caused by air polluted by petroleum extraction. The hospital they speak of was the McKenzie County Healthcare System in Watford City, North Dakota. The Chief Executive Officer there is Pete Edis and he responded to news reports about this story:
"For the record, McKenzie County Healthcare Systems, Inc is not in the business of diagnosing patients with illnesses that are unrecognized by mainstream medical organizations. The 'Bakken Cough' is not a known diagnosis, and it is unfortunate that a quote from five years ago is highlighted, purportedly from an unverified emergency room physician. This type of ambiguity can result in confusing the average reader as well as contributing to the amount of distrust for both government and healthcare, which seems to be all too common today."
Mr. Edis is very diplomatic. My response to these eco-terrorists would have been something like: "We get it. You oppose oil and gas development in North Dakota. It's America, that is an opinion you are welcome to hold. But why do you have to invent a medical condition and peddle some bogus story from five years ago? You cite a study by researchers who admit that the 'evidence' they found was casual and not proven. Ouch. And why have you ignored the American Lung Association 2022 State of the Air report? It says the counties in the North Dakota oil patch have some of the cleanest air in the nation."
For some reason, these bandits don't get "fact-checked" often. The truth is, oil and gas development, along with all of the energy development in North Dakota is done responsibly and in an environmentally friendly way. The facts have proven that for decades, despite the critic's bogus claims.
Scott Hennen hosts the statewide radio program “What’s On Your Mind?” On AM 1100 “The Flag”, AM 1090 KTGO “The Flag” and AM 1460 KLTC. Email him at ScottH@FlagFamily.com
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.