OTHER VOICES: Do right thing on oil field waste

Farm Forum

North Dakota state government, citizens, landowners, oil companies and drillers need to do the right thing about waste.

The oil companies need to make good-faith efforts to take care of their well sites, haul routes and waste ponds and pits.

The state needs to be a fair, firm and transparent regulator. While early on in the boom the state’s resources were too lean, the legislature has beefed up the staff of state agencies. The state must use its tools to hold bad actors accountable.

Landowners and citizens with concerns about oil development need to be smart participants in the process, keeping a close eye on the performance of oil companies and the state but also being fair and honest critics.

So far, the result has been a mixed bag. There have been exemplary efforts by corporate and individual citizens. And, there have been companies and individuals who have failed to abide by regulations, laws and good sense. Each of us must do better.

The North Dakota Health Department has the standards and criteria in place to protect water sources. Further, the Health Department has a record of working with companies to bring them into compliance and, if determined necessary, to hold companies accountable for violations. People have to have some faith in their government.

We are all in this together. Everyone needs to step up — together.

— Bismarck, N.D., Tribune