Some inconvenient truth for the environmentalists who would have us believe that North Dakota’s energy industry – including coal mines and thousands of oil wells flaring off natural gas daily – is having a negative impact on the state’s environment.
Turns out it’s not, really, at least as measured by air quality anyway. The American Lung Association has singled out Bismarck as having some of the cleanest air in the nation:
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Two cities in the Dakotas are among the top four in the nation when it comes to clean air, according to an American Lung Association report released Wednesday.
Bismarck, N.D., and Rapid City, S.D., join the Florida metro areas of Cape Coral-Fort Myers and Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville in being the cleanest when it comes to ozone and fine particles, the association said in its 2013 State of the Air Report.
Of course, the group is claiming this report might not take into account the impact of North Dakota’s oil boom:
However, association spokesman Robert Moffitt said in a statement that the report might not reflect changes caused by the recent oil boom in western North Dakota, and that changes might be far-reaching.
“Air pollution is a regional problem that does not respect borders or boundaries,” he said. “As we sometimes have problems with smoke from fires in Montana or Canada, likewise the pollution we create in North Dakota can end up in neighboring states. It’s an issue we all need to work together to solve.”
That sound suspiciously like an attempt to rationalize reality not quite matching up with rhetoric when it comes to claims of air pollution from North Dakota’s energy industry.
Big coal operations in the region around Bismarck are hardly new, and even the oil boom is old news now. Drilling, pumping and flaring has been on-going in the oil patch for years now.
So where’s the impact on North Dakota’s air quality?
There doesn’t seem to be one. Maybe, just maybe, the environmental alarmists are just that. Alarmists.