The week that was

THE COW DID IT? Really? A cow is suspected of causing a natural gas spill near Sully Creek, south of Medora? It could be true, according to North Dakota officials, who say that a cow could have rubbed against a tank valve this past week, causing 20 barrels of natural gas condensate to be released near a tributary of the Little Missouri River. “They just get rubbing along those valves and they open up. Sometimes they need to scratch their backs and they open those valves,” said State Environmental Health Chief Dave Glatt. While we have no reason to question those who have investigated this spill, the issue certainly raises a simple question:?Can’t all oil field equipment be bovine proof? How hard would it be have locks or some other mechanism in place to ensure that a curious or itchy cow doesn’t cause petroleum products to spill onto the ground??How about a cow-proof fence? With all the advances in oil field technology in recent years, we’re amazed that a simple cow scratch could possibly cause such a spill. Surely this is a problem that can be fixed easily, so that Bessie doesn’t endanger the environment any more than she already does with her Environmental Protection?Agency annoying, methane-producing belches.

CLEANING UP We’re happy to see the Minot Park District’s forestry department has a plan for cleaning up the dead trees in the city, many of which were damaged by the Souris River flood in 2011. It will be a big job, to be sure. Much work has already been done in the city’s parks to clear the dead trees, and the department should be commended for that. Now, employees will begin the arduous process of identifying and removing dead or dying trees throughout the valley, which entails gathering information and communicating with property owners. It won’t be a quick process, given the amount of trees that will need removal, and the forestry department has asked residents to be patient. We’re sure residents will be patient, as long as there’s visible progress.