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White Earth River Valley should already be protected

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I’ve been hearing about a group of people working on “special places” in North Dakota. I have tried to find out more about it in order to protect the “special place” of the White Earth River Valley. This idea of “special places” comes after years of unbridled oil and gas development. As I wait, more development continues to erode the natural beauty of this valley.

Is the White Earth River Valley one of the “special places?” How do I find out what is listed as “special places?” How can the White Earth River Valley be put on the list of “special places?” Who are the people deciding what are “special places?” How can they be informed that the White Earth River Valley is indeed a very “special place?”

On Aug. 22, there was an Associated Press article in The Jamestown Sun and the Minot Daily News, “N.D. Sites Threatened by Oil Drilling.” After that I heard the governor on the TV talking about the “special places,” and he made reference to www.governor.nd.gov to find out more details, but I can’t find answers to any of the questions listed above there either.

Then, I received a couple of emails telling me other people also are having difficulties getting any particulars on this big decision. So I wrote to all the members of the North Dakota Industrial Commission — the governor, the agriculture commissioner and the attorney general. The only response I got was a disinterested, generic email from the Attorney General’s Office that answered none of the questions, but referred me to a different website — http://www.nd. gov/ndic/.

The destruction of the beauty and the historical and cultural significance is terrible on the southern end of the White Earth River Valley and keeps getting worse. It is moving north, and the official decision makers are not paying attention to the damage being done.

There is a Mountrail County Planning and Zoning map dated Oct. 12, 1978, with approval of Mountrail County Commissioners that states the “Agricultural and Recreational areas shall be confined to … generally follow the contours of the Garrison Reservoir and Knife and White Earth Creeks.” So it has already been decided that the entire White Earth River Valley should be protected.

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