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Theodora Bird Bear, Mandaree, N.D., Published February 16 2013

Letter: Gas flaring is unsafe for families

Right now, an oil well site with open flaring can be 500 feet from your front door in western North Dakota. It’s unsafe for families and young children.

Through HB 1348 and a similar Senate bill, we have been trying to increase the distance between a home and a well site from 500 feet to one-quarter mile – or 1,320 feet.

This bill is in the Natural Resource Committee and needs a “do pass’ recommendation from the committee.

A similar bill to increase the distance between a home and a well site has already been killed by a Senate committee. The industry argued against it, and the bill failed.

White Earth resident Brenda Jorgenson recently testified before a committee hearing about the effect a well site nearly 800 feet from her home has had on her family and grandchildren. She talked about the well site’s negative effect on grandchildren in her family. I was moved to hear what her 5-year-old grandson said about the well site vibrations and noise that repeatedly shakes his bed, wakes him up and disturbs him as he tries to sleep at night.

A Glenburn, N.D., parent testified that his children are unable to play outside in the summer. Clarke Stevens testified that the nearby well site emissions are so bad that his young daughter becomes nauseated and vomits.

Does this sound right to you? Does it sound like living by a well site is safe for children, not to mention families? How many other families are affected but feel helpless to do or say anything?

We still need a “do pass” from the House Natural Resource Committee on HB 1348

Let the responsible legislators explain to Brenda’s 5-year-old grandson and the young Glenburn children why they would oppose increasing the distance between a home and well site in western North Dakota.