Letter to the editor: Decisions on waste sites will determine future wealth
If the county commission votes "no," the issue is finished ... right? In the case of the proposed McLean County oil-field waste dump, maybe not. The company that wants this dump may take several avenues to bypass the county commissioners' decision. One example is a legislative route, which would take away local control from the individual counties. The state would then decide when and where waste landfills would be implemented, whether the residents want them there or not.
Several applications for special waste permits in western North Dakota have recently been denied at the local level, all because of organized efforts by the concerned people who live in these areas and organizations like Dakota Resource Council. They voiced their opinions as a group on how unregulated the systems for waste disposal are in this state, and how the oil industry itself is paying for the state's studies on safety. It was very good to see people stand up for their communities.
That may have to be replicated statewide to maintain local control of these issues.
While the oil boom has proven to be economically beneficial, the negative aspects have been pushed into the far background. Rampant flaring is wasting a tax resource as well as personal royalty for mineral owners at an astronomical rate, and the welfare of the people is being unnecessarily compromised for the sake of expediency. It's no secret that waste sites are in demand right now, but Dakota Resource Council members are asking this to be done in a responsible manner, with a perspective on the long-term effects these sites will have on our state. These decisions will determine North Dakota's future wealth, long after the oil rigs have packed up and left.