Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Rockin’ the Bakken 21st Century Style

Energy
Rockin’ the Bakken 21st Century Style

North Dakota’s Bakken boom, and potential bust, are definitely in the news. Journalists, documentary filmmakers, landowners and community groups have given it a name and a face. Yet it’s still hard to understand until you put your boots on the ground and watch the oil being drilled, pumped and trucked to rail stations, 24-7, as it’s moved out of the region.

The Bakken’s local health and social service professionals, educators, and faith-based leaders have been overwhelmed by a stream of social issues including: a housing crisis, worker deaths, migration of national and international workers, childhood homelessness, crime, violence, a burgeoning drug and sex industry, and nearly insurmountable obstacles to the distribution of basic human services. Photo credit: Deborah Thomas

In Western Montana and Wyoming, we hear a steady drumbeat of stories about what the boom has brought—truck fatalities, worker deaths, pipeline spills, exploding trains, illegal dumping of radioactive waste, murders, gangs and human trafficking ... to name a few.

We also hear about the wealth. Shiny pick up trucks line our downtown streets with bumper stickers announcing hard working men and women are “Rockin’ the Bakken.” We’re also told that desperately needed jobs are being created to provide energy independence for Americans.

Corporate Takeover of Community

The boom/bust cycle is not a new phenomenon; our region has seen our share. What’s hard to understand about this particular boom is that oil industry executives and our government officials didn’t have the foresight to prepare for it. Ensuring basic public health safeguards, social services and workplace safety should be automatic in the 21st century. Communities who bear the brunt of producing this nonrenewable resource should have the same protection as the people who consume it.

But in the Bakken, public officials are watching North Dakota crumble into unmonitored ruin—ignoring environmental chaos and a public health crisis that promises to boom after the after the oil has gone bust.

Meanwhile, the Bakken’s local health and social service professionals, educators, and faith-based leaders have been overwhelmed by a stream of social issues including: a housing crisis, worker deaths, migration of national and international workers, childhood homelessness, crime, violence, a burgeoning drug and sex industry, and nearly insurmountable obstacles to the distribution of basic human services.

Thoughtful people are working to keep climate-damaging fuels in the ground. But in the Bakken, industry is flaring millions of cubic feet of methane gas into the air. While entire countries are trying to conserve water and look for a sustainable way of living, the people of North Dakota are sinking into a mire of mud, caused by oil and salt water spills. Feeding the planet is the goal of forward thinking people, but in North Dakota, thousands of acres of farmland has been sacrificed.

The Bakken is Rockin’. It’s Rockin’ from a 21st Century corporate takeover, where our environment, communities and basic human rights are going, going, gone.

For more information

Earthworks report on flaring in the Bakken and the Eagle Ford Shale plays: Up in Flames—U.S. Shale Oil Boom Comes at Expense of Wasted Natural Gas, Increased Carbon Dioxide

University of North Dakota: Black Gold and the dark underside of its development on human service delivery

Dakota Resource Council documentary: This Is Our Country - Living with the Wild West Oil Boom

Deborah Thomas is a northwest Wyoming resident who has been living with oil and gas development for years since before the fracking boom. In addition to collaborating with Earthworks she is the CEO of ShaleTest.org, a non-profit organization that collects environmental data and provides testing to lower income families and communities that are negatively impacted by shale oil and gas extraction.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Organic Farming vs. Fracking

Analysis of California’s Fracking Wastewater Reveals a Slew of Toxic Chemicals Linked to Cancer and Other Illnesses

Yet Another Oil Bomb Train Explosion Marks Fourth Derailment in Four Weeks

A graphic shows how Rhoel Dinglasan's smartphone-based saliva test works. University of Florida

As the world continues to navigate the line between reopening and maintaining safety protocols to slow the spread of the coronavirus, rapid and accurate diagnostic screening remains critical to control the outbreak. New mobile-phone-based, self-administered COVID-19 tests being developed independently around the world could be a key breakthrough in making testing more widely available, especially in developing nations.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A meteorologist monitors weather in NOAA's Center for Weather and Climate Prediction on July 2, 2013 in Riverdale, Maryland. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Trump White House is now set to appoint two climate deniers to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in one month.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A plastic bag caught in a tree in New Jersey's Palisades Park. James Leynse / Stone / Getty Images

New Jersey is one step closer to passing what environmental advocates say is the strongest anti-plastic legislation in the nation.

Read More Show Less

Did you know that nearly 30% of adults do, or will, suffer from a sleep condition at some point in their life? Anyone who has experienced disruptions in their sleep is familiar with the havoc that it can wreak on your body and mind. Lack of sleep, for one, can lead to anxiety and lethargy in the short-term. In the long-term, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Fortunately, there are proven natural supplements that can reduce insomnia and improve quality sleep for the better. CBD oil, in particular, has been scientifically proven to promote relaxing and fulfilling sleep. Best of all, CBD is non-addictive, widely available, and affordable for just about everyone to enjoy. For these very reasons, we have put together a comprehensive guide on the best CBD oil for sleep. Our goal is to provide objective, transparent information about CBD products so you are an informed buyer.

Read More Show Less
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talks to reporters during her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on Sept. 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The House of Representatives passed a sweeping bill to boost clean energy while phasing out the use of coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators that are known pollutants and contribute to the climate crisis, as the AP reported.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch