Warren D. Larson
A recent study funded by the North Dakota Petroleum Council studied the flammability of Bakken crude. They determined that it was quite safe to transport via rail.
Wow! What a surprise! The fox said it is OK to guard the henhouse. Then our state's "watchdog," the State Industrial Commission, praised the study and criticized the federal government for questioning Bakken oil flammability. Bakken crude is an almost-clear, highly flammable light oil. Texas found a way to lower the flammability of their light crude years ago. North Dakota refuses to do the same.
We also hear that it isn't possible to oversee oil and gas development. They say that any common sense safeguard will hurt development. So we don't require pressure monitors on pipelines to stop spills and we don't significantly fine companies whose saltwater destroys productive farmland for a generation or more. These people conveniently ignore history.
North Dakota sensibly protected the land and water and responsibly developed our natural resources back in the 1970s. Gov. Art Link made sure that after the coal was mined the farmland was returned to productivity. Farmers and coal companies worked in harmony under Link's leadership.
We did it then. We can do it again. All we need is leadership.
Ryan Taylor is such a leader. His presence as Agriculture Commissioner is desperately needed on the Industrial Commission. Taylor believes we can get every drop of oil out of the ground and still protect our land and water. That kind of common sense leadership is absent today on the Industrial Commission.
With more than 20,000 wells projected to be drilled we need leaders like Ryan Taylor who can forge a strong bond between energy and agriculture. Taylor knows what has to be done to make sure everyone wins when it comes to energy development.