The dangerous waste byproducts of oil and gas discovery make the argument for clean energy a valid one. New drilling technologies give oil companies more ways to reach reserves. Because of the controversial drilling technique called hydrolic fracking, health concerns have risen for families living in or near oil fields.
The Bakken in North Dakota is reportedly the biggest untapped oil reserve in America. It stretches from North Dakota to Saskatchewan. Land owners in the area have little control over whether an oil well is on their property, or whether an adjacent well employs fracking. However, they are finding their voice to protest the dangerous byproducts due to fracking leaks and also, the storage of waste in pits.
How Drilling Waste Is Stored
Drilling creates dangerous waste. Anything put down the drilling hole has to come back up, and when it does, it comes with many dangerous toxins. Those nasty liquids and chemicals have to go somewhere, so instead, they go into pits and salt caverns. These can be naturally occuring or man-made. Overflow due to flooding, and seepage into bedrock can taint water supplies.
What the Government Is Doing About It
Tapping new oil reserves is a necessary tactic to keep energy prices down in America. While researchers work to make alternative energy sources more affordable, the public is still reliant on fossil fuels. Although the news is full of positive reports about clean energy, people are still concerned about their health due to the old energy technology.
Federal regulators are sensitive to potential health hazards, and new rules are provided for the oil companies drilling in the Bakken. To help this case, federal regulators have proposed closed drilling systems. This means that everything that goes down the tube has to come back up the same tube. This system contains the waste.
Know Your Rights As a Landowner
If you own property that has a waste pit, make sure you stay in close contact with the oil company. Contact information is usually posted near the site. These pits can overflow after a big snow melt, and the toxins can get into waterways, eventually reaching farms and ranch land. Many well operators want to be good neighbors, and they will address your concerns.
Talk to your neighbors. If an adjacent landowner allows a waste pit, then make sure he or she is aware of your health concerns. A pit close to your home is unsafe for you and your children. Although you can’t completely stop oil exploration, you can let the state and federal representatives know your concerns.
Remember that you have a vote. Landowners who work together to protect the natural resources of North Dakota and the Bakken can help achieve a safer energy plan. If the number of people against unsafe oil field waste disposal is large enough, your representatives will be more motivated and compelled to do something about the situation.