Tag Archives: Renee Jean

A personal story: Dennis Johnsrud, Williston, ND

Today’s post is one of a series of personal stories on this site about how the shale oil and gas boom has affected the lives of the people in the communities that are touched by drilling.

The first thing Dennis Johnsrud hears anytime a pipeline company wants to site a line on his property is that they are there to ‘work with the farmers.’

“It’s a red flag to me now,” Johnsrud says on a fair-weather Thursday afternoon in a wheat full of golden stubble. “The last 10 guys said that, and it never happened.”

There is a trail of broken promises tracking through Johnsrud’s fields. He says he’s telling his story because, if farmers won’t speak up, the story will only be told by the other side, and no one will realize the realities farmers are facing in an economy that is increasingly harsh and unforgiving to the families who have shepherded this land for generations.

Click to read more of Johnrud’s story, which reminds us that Montana, even more than North Dakota, provides few protections for private ownership rights against the oil and gas companies. The need for local landowners to set regulations for how drilling is done on their properties is greater than ever. Continue reading

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