By: Greg Hodur, Fargo, INFORUM
Boom, boom, boom.
What’s that sound?
The first boom, of course, is about the beneficial economic impact of all the oil production resulting from outside parties coming into the state to exploit our natural resources.
That’s all most Republicans wherever they’re from in the state, and some Democrats, can talk about.
No doubt, it’s good for our economy.
The other booms? They come from Tioga (site of one of the largest pipeline leaks in U.S. history), Quebec (where 47 people died when a train full of Bakken oil exploded,) Casselton (whose citizens narrowly missed sharing the fate of the victims in Quebec a few weeks ago) and, now, the natural gas pipeline explosion just outside Winnipeg.
How much more has to happen before the governor, the PSC and the Republican supermajority in the Legislature start considering the dangers of combining the virtually unregulated production of a highly combustible commodity with the lack of modern truck, rail and pipeline capacity to safely extract and move that product to market?
Do they really think outsiders, who recently formed the front group R.O.P.E. to interfere in state politics, will stop drilling in North Dakota if we move to protect our state’s people, traditional way of life, environment and, for that matter, anybody anywhere else that comes between them, our oil and their bank accounts?
Do they really think the Republican state party chairman’s suggestion that, after Casselton, it might be time to slow down a bit and take a serious look at the consequences of the oil boom, as some of us have been advocating for a longtime, is so unreasonable he should be removed?
And here’s a news flash for the governor, Rep. Al Carlson, R-Fargo, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and their cronies: It’s not Obama’s fault.
Overall, the oil boom is good for North Dakota. I believe most of the players have good intentions. But some of them are acting like a dinner guest who brings an expensive bottle of wine to dinner, then behaves badly and expects us to forget it’s still our home.
Oil producers can keep drilling, mineral rights’ owners, the state treasury and our economy in general can continue to prosper, and it can be done safely.
But only with a change in leadership to one that hasn’t lost sight of the fact they’re paid to represent the best interests of North Dakotans, not oil companies.