Spills must be stopped

It is becoming increasingly ironic that we in North Dakota continue to associate ourselves with Theodore Roosevelt.

The naturalist president largely responsible for the national park system would at least have misgivings about the recent oil development in the state, if not be outright opposed to how it’s being carried out. Certainly the current trend of oil and brine spills – spill after spill after spill – occurring in Roosevelt’s badlands would not impress Old Four Eyes.

Even at its best oil production comes at a high price, and to more than just the few who benefit directly from oil. Consider McKenzie County, where about 2,500 housing units are currently under construction or are permitted, on top of what’s already been built. Impressive, but not the kind of progress that every resident is pleased about.

As for the careless spills, something must be done quickly to reverse the trend. But what?

Roosevelt is also famous for his speak softly and “carry a big stick” philosophy. Perhaps the state needs to find a bigger stick.