ND Department Of Mineral Resources Director Says Some Claims About Oil Drilling In Little Missouri State Park Are “Irresponsible”
Earlier this week I wrote about a letter to the editor, circulating through the state’s newspapers, which made some pretty outrageous claims about oil production in and around the Little Missouri State Park which has been approved by the state. According to the gentleman who wrote the letter, the State of North Dakota is destroying that park by allowing oil production.
But Lynn Helms, director of the state’s Department of Mineral Resources, says it isn’t so. In an interview with Scott Hennen, Helms point out that the state worked long and hard to strike a balance between allowing oil production to go forward in the area (to the benefit of North Dakota citizens who hold mineral rights there, up to and including the state itself which has a small share) and protecting the beauty and pristine nature of the park itself.
The problem, as with most energy issues, is that oil development in North Dakota is going quickly become a political football. The state’s Democrats, desperate for any sort of a wedge issue to break the Republican stranglehold on statewide elected offices, are going to play on some of the angst created by the challenges the oil boom has brought to North Dakota. They’re going to push that button long and hard, and claiming that Republicans are sacrificing one of the most scenic and beautiful areas of the state on the altar of Big Oil fits the ticket.
That isn’t, you know, true doesn’t matter to people like Democrat governor candidate Ryan Taylor who is the most likely candidate to use it (federal candidates Heidi Heitkamp and Pam Gulleson need to strike a different pose on energy entirely).
It’s worth remembering that Earl Pomeroy tried this same gambit against Rick Berg in his failed 2010 campaign for a 10th term in the US House. Berg had made mention that it was possible to allow responsible development of natural resources in and around state park (an accurate claim), and Pomeroy quickly accused him of all but wanting to build oil derricks on top of buffalo.
Here’s the ad for those who don’t remember it:
It didn’t work out well for Pomeroy in 2010, and I don’t think it will work out well for Democrats in this election cycle either.
North Dakotans are wise to the ways of the exaggerations and obstructionism of political environmentalists.Tags: Earl Pomeroy, little missouri state park, lynn helms, North Dakota News, ryan taylor, scott hennen