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Letter: Ag commissioner dismisses worries

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring’s recent letter “Sound bite versus smart regulation” is ironically nothing more than a bunch of sound bites.

I live in the beautiful White Earth Valley in western North Dakota in the heart of the Bakken, and as a result of the boom, our ranch has suffered significant blows, many of which were permitted by Goehring and the other two members of the Industrial Commission.

Goehring dismisses ag commissioner candidate Ryan Taylor’s Landowner Bill of Rights. Goehring specifically targets Taylor’s proposed quarter-mile oil well setback from occupied dwellings. Supposedly, Goehring plans to examine every permit individually to determine where wells should be placed.

I doubt Goehring looked closely at the permits to drill on my ranch, and if he did, it is pretty clear he had no idea what it means to live with an oil well just 800 feet from his front door.

Living with two oil wells just 800 feet from my home has meant drilling noises that disturb my family’s peace and quiet; loss of our night sky, flaring emissions that have affected my health, causing rashes and numbness of my limbs; explosive gas from an incomplete flare filling my home with no emergency phone number to call; and not wanting my grandchildren to play outside in our yard.

I want an agriculture commissioner who will work to find solutions for farmers and ranchers, not a candidate full of sound bites. Taylor listens to the problems facing farmers and ranchers in the Oil Patch and brings forward solutions that will allow both oil and our agricultural way of life to coexist.