Taylor Brorby, a writer based in the Twin Cities, recently visited the Bakken and this week filed a first-hand report in the Huffington Post. It provides a chilling warning to Montanans — be vigilant or lose.
Brorby pulls no punches:
The oil boom in the Bakken formation of North Dakota is ruining the environmental vitality of the state.
At this point it’s going to be hard to go back. In North Dakota, the 1.1 million acres in the National Grasslands is 95% leased for oil development. The Little Missouri State Park is open for development, leaving Brory to ask, “What’s safe from oil development in North Dakota?”
His experience driving through the area is heartbreaking:
In my travels around the western half of North Dakota last month I smelled both sulfur and propane in wheat fields, making my breathing difficult. Flares lit my path down Highways 85 and 2 through the night, making me feel as if I were baking in an oven. The evening sunset reflected pink and blazing orange, highlighting the increasing toxicity of the air.
How long will it be before someone can write the same sad story about the Red Lodge – Fishtail area? Time to heed this warning:
So far we in North Dakota, and we as a nation, have voted to love the bottom line rather than draw the line and say enough. We have allowed corporations to remain simple, allowing the destruction of vital ecosystems and environments — including the environments of our own thinking. We have lapsed into thinking that we should have a life of abundance, rather than an abundance of life.
Imagine hiking through the pristine trails of Custer National Forest with the smell of sulfur and propane burning in your lungs. Consider what it would be like to cast in a Stillwater River ravaged by methane.
There is no time to work yourself into action on this. The time to preserve the Beartooth Front is now.