North Dakota is home to the nation’s largest proven reserves of shale oil - a potential source of jobs, income, and reliable energy supplies for the next 100 years. However, tapping the Bakken's full potential will require industry leaders and public officials to confront challenges that pose an even greater threat to oil and gas development than today's low prices.North Dakotans are frustrated by what feels like an endless parade of problems that have accompanied the Bakken Boom.
Some of these challenges (e.g. natural gas flaring, truck traffic) are being addressed through infrastructure build-out and sensible regulations. But others such as worker fatalities, toxic spills, and poor-quality reclamation stubbornly persist. Many of these problems can all be solved, but only when project owners and state regulators decide it's more important to build pipeline and energy infrastructure the right way than to build it on the cheap.
Releases from poorly-constructed pipelines have impaired North Dakota's land and water, threatened public safety, and damaged the reputation of the oil and gas industry.
Pipelines are the safest, cleanest, most efficient way to move oil, natural gas, and hazardous liquids - as long as they are properly built, maintained, and operated.
Unfortunately, too many Bakken pipeline and oil companies employ contractors that cut corners and use poorly-trained crews. That needs to change if we want to preserve the state's natural resources and build energy infrastructure for future generations of North Dakotans.
North Dakota has led the nation in worker deaths for three of the past four years, but it doesn't have to be that way.
Safety happens when contractors and project owners make safe workplaces a priority, and workers are given the tools and training they need.
Safe work practices protect the public, reduce costs, and improve quality; unsafe rush and reliance on inexperienced hands simply expose workers, bystanders, and companies to unnecessary risks.
Many North Dakotans think land and water are our most valuable resource, but you wouldn't know it from the condition of many pipeline rights-of-way.
Responsible pipeline companies protect fragile ecosystems and restore land to its original condition, leaving behind rights-of-way that are nearly invisible.
Sadly, others leave behind land that is scarred, no longer productive, or strewn with rocks and debris. Frustrated landowners are increasingly reluctant to grant pipeline easements, but the solution is simple: give pipeline crews the training and time to properly build and reclaim the right-of-way.
Build Better North Dakota is a campaign to raise standards in North Dakota’s energy industry to
ensure that development of the state’s abundant resources is sustainable
and benefits all North Dakotans. We are working with people on the front lines of the energy industry - construction workers, landowners, pipeline companies - to move North Dakota forward.
The Build Better North Dakota website is sponsored by LIUNA North Dakota, which represents hundreds of skilled workers in energy, civil, and building construction industries across the state. The website is designed to serve as a clearinghouse for information about problems and possible solutions to our construction quality and safety challenges.
For more information contact: BuildBetterND@gmail.com.