Most of North Dakota has been living with hazy, smokey air now for over a week. The cause is wildfires in Canada, and the situation has gotten to the point where the EPA has issued an air quality warning for the state.
“The EPA’s ‘AirNow.gov’ website placed portions of Burke, Ward, Bottineau, and Mountrail Counties in the unhealthy category with adjoining areas considered unhealthy for people sensitive to air pollution,” reports KXNews.
That’s unfortunate, but here’s a telling statement from the article: “These are things that are new to North Dakota,” Dr. Scott Knutson of the Trinity Emergency Trauma Center in Minot told KXNews. “We enjoy good air all the time.”
Dr. Knutson knows his stuff. The 2015 State of the Air report from the American Lung Association gave North Dakota top grades for air quality.
The state got the same grades in 2013, despite Democrats at the time calling western North Dakota an “industrial wasteland,” and top grades in 2014 as well.
And the group measured air quality in some of the most industrially active counties in the state. Mercer and Oliver counties are home to most of the state’s coal-fired electrical generation, while Billings, Burke, Dunn and McKenzie counties are all in the state’s oil patch and home to a lot of drilling, pumping and natural gas flaring.
Environmental activists and left-wing politicians like to portray North Dakota as being polluted by industrial interests. But it took something natural – wildfires hundreds of miles away – to diminish North Dakota’s sterling record for air quality.
This really puts into perspective how safe and responsible energy development in North Dakota has been.