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Ryan Gustafson, Fargo, Published April 16 2014

Letter: Get oil companies out of the Bakken

Open up Google and search for “satellite photos of North Dakota at night.” Western North Dakota appears brighter than Minneapolis-St. Paul. The dazzling lights come from oil companies that are “flaring” natural gas instead of harvesting it, sending untold quantities of polluted smoke into our lungs.

Oil companies have invaded. They are burning, sawing, drilling and killing the Bakken before we catch on to what they’re doing. They are polluting groundwater. They are spilling tens of thousands of gallons of oil (and not telling anyone). They are dumping radioactive waste illegally.

And because of a toothless state government run by an old-boy Republican guard more in love with the almighty dollar than common sense, they are getting away with it.

It’s time for a moratorium on drilling and fracking. When the oil runs out, will the companies who created the environmental hazards clean it up? Are we expected to clean up after them? Stop fracking now, before future generations ask us why we decided oil and a quick buck was more important than healthy rivers, bountiful crops and clean air.

We need to harvest oil, but we need to do it responsibly. Until oil companies can prove they are able to do so, we should not allow them within 100 miles of the Bakken.