AIR, COAL, WATER, AND CHEAP POLITICIANS
To the editor,
The history of North Dakota is a two-century litany of exploitation, from the earliest arrivals of Europeans on our prairies and rivers to the present.
With these reminders, I picked up my copy of the book “One Time Harvest,” published in 1975, which delved into the relatively nascent North Dakota lignite coal industry.
The title came from speeches by Governor Arthur Link contrasting agricultural productivity with fossil fuel development. He had been a “Leaguer,” served under the Dem-NPL banner in Congress and as governor, and had a deep concern for our heritage, stewardship of resources, and the legacy we would leave for future generations.
Part four of the book begins with a preface that still applies to fossil fuel development:
“The coal industry has come west in search of four basic resources: cheap clean air, cheap coal, cheap water and cheap politicians. They’ve found each of these in North Dakota.
To exploit the resources of the region, the industry also needs good transportation, which can be built, and complacent labor, which can be bought .....” To quote the author, the 1975, 44th Legislative Assembly “....was a session of accommodation, not of control”.
A decade after the book was published, the North Dakota lignite industry and coal-burning power generators were exempted from provisions of the federal Clean Air Act.
Little has changed since Gov. Link’s time in office and his valiant, but failed, efforts. Our legislative assembly, executive branch and state regulators continue to oblige industry and developers, and congressional delegations intercede with federal agencies to shield operators and fiduciaries at all levels.
-Ron Saeger, Fargo
To the editor:
Have you ever wondered why a car dealer is allowed to advertise on everyone’s car? Why is that dealer sticker on your car? Are you afraid to take it off? Why did you let them put their ad on your car anyway?
Do you get a discount when you have your car serviced at that dealer? Will it get you a family discount on your next car purchase?
I’m guessing most cars that don’t have that car dealer advertising have been damaged, because most people will never take the sticker off their car.
Do yourself a big favor. Go peel that advertisement sticker off the back of your car.
-Dave Engebretson, Fargo
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