So Much For “Big Oil” Buying North Dakota
Over the last week, in efforts that seem almost coordinated, Democrats and the editorial board at the Fargo Forum have taken aim at political contributions to Republicans from employees in the oil industry. From roughnecks to oil executives, the Democrats and the liberals at the Forum don’t like that those working in the oil industry are having an impact on state politics. According to the narrative they’ve worked hard to manufacture, the oil industry is buying off the state so that they can run amok in the western oil fields.
Something inconvenient for that narrative happened this week though. An oil company responsible for improperly disposing of fracking waste water was nailed (rightfully) by the State Industrial Commission with criminal charges and the state’s largest civil case.
The company, Halek Operating ND LLC, faces up to $1.5 million in fines for injecting salt water used in hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, into the disposal site after having been told to stop because the site was not up to state standards.
The North Dakota Industrial Commission filed the civil complaint against Halek in Burleigh County District Court.
A criminal complaint filed in Stark County charges Nathan Garber, president of Executive Drilling LLC, with a Class C felony. The case alleges that Garber knowingly violated Industrial Commission rules by directing employees of another company to modify the dump site to deceive inspectors.
Executive Drilling LLC is somehow related to Halek, but officials are unclear about the connection, said Lynn Helms, director of the Department of Mineral Resources.
Helms said this is the most significant environmental case in North Dakota that he’s aware of.
“It’s a very serious violation and it needs to be dealt with in a very serious manner,” Helms said.
A serious environmental issue being dealt with in a serious matter.
Conservatives have responded to criticism from the left about oil industry influence, and demands for more federal regulation, by pointing out that the states are capable of regulating energy production within their borders. And this case makes that point perfectly. It’s not good that this happened, but the state’s response has been both swift and appropriate.
The relationship between the campaigns of these politicians and all special interests (Democrats and the state media are uninterested in other sorts of special interest influence) should always be scrutinized. But the suggestion that North Dakota has a problem with out of control oil companies, or politicians who are bought off by the industry, is ridiculous.Tags: bakken, North Dakota News, oil