I recently learned that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will be speaking in Bismarck at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference May 23rd. I, along with my fellow members of Fort Berthold Protectors of Our Earth Rights, see Zinke's visit as an opportunity to invite the secretary to come visit Fort Berthold and see firsthand the impacts from oil and gas air pollution on our air.
Right now, Zinke is in the process of rescinding the Bureau of Land Management's methane waste prevention rule, a rule that is needed on Fort Berthold to regulate out-of-control emissions that damage the health of the people and land of Fort Berthold.
During the public comment period for the BLM methane waste prevention rule, over 400,000 people sent in public comments telling Zinke to not rescind the BLM methane rule. According to analysis done by the Western Values Project, 99.8 percent of the comments sent in told Zinke to not rescind the BLM methane rule, which included many enrolled members of the Three Affiliated Tribes who live on Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.
It is time Zinke started to listen to the people, including people from indigenous communities, rather than only the moneyed interests of the oil and gas industry. The first step for Zinke to prove that he will listen to the people will be for him to accept our invitation to visit Fort Berthold, and the second step and most important step will be for him to listen to the will of the people and not rescind the 2016 BLM methane waste rule.
DeVille lives in Mandaree, N.D., and is a member of Fort Berthold Protectors of Water & Earth Rights.