Two area residents named to committee studying oil, gas

Two New Town residents are among 14 North Dakotans appointed by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to an advisory committee to study how oil and gas development in the state is affecting the cost of living for citizens.

The North Dakota State Advisory Committee plans to examine areas including increases in traffic congestion and the cost of food and housing near fracking sites, according to a news release from the commission on Monday.

Marc Bluestone and Carol Eve Good Bear, both of New Town are among the 14 people selected for the committee.

Six members of the committee are from Fargo: Cheryl Bergian, Sandra Boehler, Crystal Dueker, Robert Herren, David Lanpher and Constance Nelson; three from Grand Forks: Stephanie Johnson, Jordan Schuetzle and Mark Tobin; and also Refugio “Pete” Padilla, Devils Lake; and David Meier, Dickinson. Cheryl Long Feather Kary, of Bismarck, will serve as the chair.

The committee members were appointed by the eight commissioners of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights based in Washington, D.C.

The committee will meet for the first time on Wednesday by teleconference to lay out plans for its spring hearing on oil and gas development.

Malee Craft, director of the commission’s Rocky Mountain Regional Office in Denver, said the hearing will be held in western North Dakota. The location has not been selected yet.

State advisory committee members will conduct reviews and produce reports and recommendations concerning local civil rights issues, including justice, voting, discrimination, housing and education.

The study will result in a published report, generally with recommendations, Craft said. She said the plans are to have the report completed by the end of the year.