Letter: Hold oil industry, government accountable for common good
By: Liz Fordahl, Grand Forks
Why should the Red River Valley care about the rampant oil development in western North Dakota? The negative impact of oil development hasn’t reached Grand Forks or Fargo.
The Red River Valley hasn’t experienced price-gauging, housing scarcity, the vanishing stars due to flaring, oil spills, illegal dumping of radioactive waste, overcrowded schools, rape, murder, leasing schemes unfavorable to landowners, severe population growth, destroyed roads, polluted water, or man camps. Williston, Watford City and Tioga have. People who live there no longer feel safe. They feel that their North Dakota has been lost.
In contrast, the Red River Valley has experienced abundant tax revenue, construction booms, funding for schools and a general insulation from the economic recession that began in 2008 and has devastated most of the United States.
In 1997, when Grand Forks was in dire straits, the rest of the state and country, even Bill Clinton, showed up to help and show support. School districts across the state welcomed displaced students. Why aren’t we reciprocating that support? North Dakota is experiencing crisis.
The Red River Valley holds the weight of the state population and therefore the weight of the Legislature. The way I see it, it is our moral obligation and political responsibility to vote in favor of those without a strong voice – the residents of western North Dakota.
McKenzie County has two state representatives and one senator. They also carry the most oil impact and oil tax revenue. By contrast, Grand Forks and Fargo combined have 32 representatives and 16 senators.