When it comes to hot button issues, such as the effort to unravel the Obama administration’s ridiculous and redundant flaring rule which was dropped three days before President Trump’s inauguration, letters to the editor are usually an exercise in astroturf. On both sides of the issue.
Which means they usually aren’t worth commenting on.
But I had to say something about this letter from Ruth Buffalo who ran for Insurance Commissioner on the Democratic ticket last year.
“North Dakotans support cutting natural gas waste,” reads the headline over Buffalo’s letter.
“I was disheartened to hear that my elected representative, Rep. Kevin Cramer, is so determined to repeal the common-sense protections that will help North Dakotans and members of the Three Affiliated Tribes from natural gas waste,” she writes.
There are a couple of points worth making here.
First, Ruth Buffalo received just 26 percent of the vote last year. Her opponent, Republican Jon Godfread, received 64 percent. Yet Buffalo is now an expert on what North Dakotans want?
C’mon. North Dakotans have made it pretty clear, in one election after another, that they aren’t buying what liberal Democrats like Buffalo are selling. Which isn’t to say she can’t keep trying to sell us her bill of goods. Just that she maybe shouldn’t say she’s talking for some majority of citizens in the state.
Second, Buffalo invokes the interests of the Three Affiliated Tribes, of which she is a member. Problem is, the tribe’s leadership supports overturning this rule. Congressman Cramer confirmed to me that a delegation from the tribes told him they’re opposed to the rule. Cramer said hey’ve been in Washington D.C. lobbying Senator Heidi Heitkamp (who for some baffling reason is still undecided on the issue) among others, urging them to vote for the resolution already passed in the U.S. House to kill the rule.
Buffalo presumes to speak for North Dakotans, and for the MHA Nation, when she really has no standing to speak for either.
By the way, flaring in North Dakota has “declined sharply” according to the Energy Information Administration. That’s thanks to rules the State of North Dakota put in place.
The federal rules are, again, redundant and unnecessary. Born more of the Obama administration’s animosity towards oil and gas development than any honest desire to protect the environment.