Saltwater spill: Enough already

It’s a story that keeps occurring with far too much regularity in northwestern North Dakota: About 1 million gallons of saltwater has leaked from a pipeline, with some of the water leaking into a bay that leads to a lake that provides drinking water to nearby residents.

The locations and details of the latest oil industry related accident could be interchanged with previous incidents, whether the spill is saltwater, oil or some other product. But the effects are the same, both to the environment and to the psyche of the residents of this state.

In the latest case, the saltwater, which is at least 10 times saltier than seawater, has killed or damaged some trees, bushes and grass, although there could be more damage once a more thorough investigation is completed. We’ve heard the stories before, and quite honestly, they’re getting old, especially for those residents most affected.

The oil industry and the state officials who regulate the industry simply must do a better job of protecting not only the residents of this state, but the glorious natural environment that makes North Dakota a great place to live. We know that’s not an easy task, but it simply has to be done. We can’t keep reading about saltwater spills and oil leaks week after week and expect the people of this state to stand by and watch.