McLean County commissioners rejected a request for a permit to use a flyash disposal site near Underwood as a landfill for oil-field waste, after residents in the area expressed great concern over the project's safety.
Residents also said they saw no reason to become a home for some of the negative side-effects of the ongoing oil boom in western North Dakota when McLean County isn't enjoying many, if any, of the boom's benefits.
Who can blame them for their oppostion?
Great River Energy, which operates the nearby Coal Creek Generating ?Station, made the permit request. The objective was to upgrade the partially-filled landfill, fill it and then permanently close it. The site would have taken cuttings and drilling mud from in-state operations.
In rejecting the permit, commissioners properly noted that there are already 12 disposal sites in northwest North Dakota in use, under construction or in the permitting process. So there was no need to allow the material to be dumped at the site near Underwood, opponents argued.
It's easy to understand the residents' opposition to the project. McLean County remains on the edge of oil country, with 46 wells mostly in the western part of the county. Why use the flyash facility for oil-field waste when that waste is coming from other counties? It doesn't make much sense, and we're not surprised the commissioners rejected the permit. There are limits to being a good neighbor.