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Letter: Forum editorial points to poisonous gas flaring

I  just read The Forum’s July 1 flaring editorial. You have it so right.

  The all-too-common, already known facts about the flares are the noise – sounding like a jet-engine roaring; light – that lightens up the entire White Earth River Valley on cloud-covered nights and prevents the stars from showing on clear nights; the smell – sending gases into the air you breathe, which you may or may not smell – reaching out to the nearby homes where people live and animals are being raised and where crops that feed the multitudes are to grow.

The lesser-known facts are the impositions on the simple things in life such as going for walks, hanging out laundry (I took my clothesline down because I didn’t know what was going to be on my clothes and had to transplant trees to block the “view”), snowshoeing on deer trails, cross-country skiing, horseback riding (my horses won’t go near those flares) – all on your own property. We have to check the direction of the wind every day. Then you start out and the wind switches only to catch you off-guard. Our cattle down in the White Earth River Valley don’t have that choice.

Then there are the not-talked-about issues, which are the health issues: When we were in Washington, D.C., last February and met with many entities about flaring emissions, we learned there are very real health issues.

Common symptoms are respiratory problems, rashes, headaches, numbness of limbs, etc. I’ve been trying to get a fact sheet for all symptoms to alert the public, including doctors, public health nurses and schools. List of doctors? Who? Where? How?

On a webinar I listened to, a doctor said, “There is no pill, no potion, no nothing, only prevention” when dealing with environmental issues.

People with asthma don’t have any tolerance for these toxic fumes. A friend has continued to get worse. When I asked her if there were any flares near her, she said there is a flare across the road from her. She’s going to a specialist. Will that specialist even ask her that question?

Other people are having to go on oxygen, and some are dealing with terminal lung diseases.

I believe a major loophole in this oil and gas development is that the land used is not converted from agriculture to industrial. The coal plants have regulations to monitor air, water, you name it, throughout the day – every day!

There is no air monitoring, no water testing, no soil testing on these locations because they’re not zoned industrial. We’ve requested air monitors here. That does not happen. There is no need because it’s still zoned agricultural. There’s much more to this, but I’m told by our ag commissioner and other farmers: “You don’t want to pay the taxes for industrial!”

Everything comes full circle back to the landowner with pipelines and their risks. Bombs like Alliance Pipeline’s 2200 psi (that’s pounds per square inch) natural gas pipeline going through our ranch and all the way from Tioga, N.D., to Sherwood, N.D. All of this affects agriculture. People need to start realizing that agriculture is very important, too.

Jorgenson lives in the White Earth Valley of western Montrail County, N.D.