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Opinion: Opportunity lost in not using flared gas

BISMARCK, N.D. -- I awoke recently thinking about our young granddaughters. I appreciate that they will be safe and warm in a home and a day care facility heated by natural gas, as winter approaches.

North Dakta
Agweek

BISMARCK, N.D. - I awoke recently thinking about our young granddaughters. I appreciate that they will be safe and warm in a home and a day care facility heated by natural gas, as winter approaches. 

Projections are that reserves of natural gas are extensive and will last for years. Projections were also, however, that this oil boom is unlike previous boom-bust cycles and growth would last for decades. Now, however, this boom seems to be heading the same direction as it did in the ’80s. We are told it was only a projection, and things change.
Recently, the North Dakota Industrial Commission - made up of Gov. Jack Dalrymple, probable gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring - gave carte blanche to oil companies to increase the flaring of natural gas. We are told that it has become difficult for oil companies to capture this nonrenewable resource. I wonder, though, the ultimate determining factor: difficulty or cutting into profits?
I recall my mother telling stories of my grandparents gathering dried cow pies and tumbleweeds to burn for heat. My grandfather, who served in the North Dakota House in 1927, must be rolling over in his grave with the flaring of today. There’s nothing conservative, after all, about wasting this one-time harvest.
Let us be honest: This exten-
sion will encourage more waste rather than providing an opportunity to find a responsible path forward. And it is reasonable for North Dakotans to assume that further extensions will follow.
The Republican-led Industrial Commission has yet again failed to lead, and in doing so has lit the match on our grandchildren’s future. This is not my grandfather’s Republican Party. We must remember when the gas is all gone, or rather, wasted, we will have missed this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
After the Industrial Commission’s decision Stenehjem said, “What really matters is what’s the score at the end of the game.” And so they led us to the end of the game.
Editor’s note: Larson is from Bismarck, N.D.

Related Topics: NORTH DAKOTA
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