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Katie Shortall, Williston, N.D. , Published March 23 2013

Letter: When will they get the message?

In a weekend that saw two homicides and a fatal traffic accident in Williams County, N.D., one has to wonder how much longer North Dakota can go on pretending the oil counties are not experiencing severe hardships.

Yes, we have a growing population, but I do not believe the level of growth matches the increased crime and traffic issues. If Williston’s population is 22,000, like Williams County officials declare, is our crime level equal to that of any other city with the same population in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota or Wyoming? If we are 45,000, does that same ratio apply? Living in western North Dakota doesn’t feel as safe as anywhere else in our area. How long before vigilante justice takes hold or total lawlessness breaks out?

The Legislature seems to care more about effects on industry than what is happening to the communities in the Oil Patch. The reason to tax is because a detriment is occurring, and the tax revenue should be going to remedy the detriments. Our needs seem to be getting greater all the time, yet no great solutions or changes have appeared to alleviate any of the problems.

So many letters to the newspapers have been written by residents in the Oil Patch stating they are heartbroken, frustrated and full of sorrow, while the North Dakota they love is being taken away from them through the unsustainable pace of the oil production. At what point will western North Dakota residents’ voices be heard?