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Published December 30 2012

Forum editorial: Tonight’s helpers win roses

Prairie roses: To all those involved tonight in being designated drivers, providing cabs and other rides to New Year’s Eve revelers, and to barkeeps, who know when a patron has had too much and have the good sense to say so. Cold and snowy is the forecast, so weather conditions will be dangerous for anyone who’s had too much to drink and decides to drive. Indeed, just walking in frigid weather is not smart for someone who has been drinking alcohol. It will be up to responsible friends and others to provide travel alternatives for the partier who insists on swilling too much. The tradition of ringing in the new year with food and drink and partying can be memorable fun, but it only takes one stupid move to turn fun into disaster. Be careful out there tonight.

Leafy spurge: To North Dakota oil industry regulators who seem all too willing to minimize or spin the effects of oil development in sensitive western environments. Thanks to an excellent piece of reporting by the Bismarck Tribune’s Lauren Donovan (reprinted in the Dec. 26 Forum), the threat to the landscapes around Little Missouri State Park near Killdeer is clearer. Landowners were told one thing regarding the number of wells planned for a unit near the park, but as development proceeded, the “plan” apparently was changed. What was approved a year ago is far different from what is happening on the ground, landowners said. They were told to expect 83 wells, but the projection now is for 200. The effects, of course, will be greater. It looks like another example of the tail wagging the dog. That is the industry getting what it wants and regulators finding a way to accommodate.

Leafy spurge: To Minnesota Democrats in the newly Democrat-controlled Legislature who seem all too eager to slide into their old spending ways at a time the state needs to dig out from a financial hole. Last week Democratic leaders did little to hide their proclivity for spending, even as Republican minority leaders appropriately warned that now is not the time to go on a spending spree. After all, if Democrats fund their pet programs, they will be piling more debt on future generations and making it more difficult for the state to emerge from a long financial crisis. Minnesotans can only hope more responsible voices emerge from the new Democratic majority.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.