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Bismarck Tribune Naïve Rookie Reporter Duped Again PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chet   
Wednesday, 31 July 2013 12:31

TribSuckerOnce again the Oil & Gas Divison of North Dakota's Industrial Commission has made a statement about a fine it says it is imposing.  The Division claims it is imposting a huge -- HUGE, I say -- fine against an oil field company for violating rules relating to the disposal of poisonous fracking water. Once again, one of the rookie reporters at the Bismarck Tribune regurgitates the press release-like statement without asking a single hard question.  From the Tribune...

By Nick Smith

Bismarck, N.D. - The North Dakota Industrial Commission is seeking a $1.5 million civil penalty against a company for violating saltwater disposal well regulations.

State Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms outlined the case involving Halek Operating ND, LLC to the three-member commission Tuesday.

“It is the largest civil penalty that you, as a commission, have ever levied,” Helms said. “This was a very serious crime. It sends a strong signal to companies and operators that come into the state.”

The Industrial Commission had announced earlier it would be pursuing the civil case against the company, along with a criminal case against Nathan Garber of Executive Drilling, LLC.

The well is in Stark County near Dickinson.

Bismarck Tribune

So why ever would I think the Tribune's cub reporter -- Nick Smith -- is being naive?  Well, mostly because my memory goes back prior to last week.  I "Remember those huge fines imposed on ND Oil Companies" back in May of 2011.  I also have access to "The Google."  Maybe some of you folks are new here, so I'll take you back in time. 

Back in May of 2011, there was a big story about the Oil & Gas Division assessing huge -- HUGE, I say -- fines against oil companies. They were assessing "Three MILLION dollars" in fines. That's what the big press release said.  So it must have been true back then, right? Well, no. Nobody else covered it, but NorthDecoder did. Ultimately virtually every one of those huge -- HUGE, I say -- fines were reduced by 90% or so.  

The last time I wrote about this, all those enforcement actions against companies involved in the "$3 million" Oil & Gas Division fines had been completed. The final tally for the "$3 million" in fines ACTUALLY paid in those cases was closer to $350,000.  That NEVER got reported anywhere but here at NorthDecoder.  If it would have been reported in the mainstream media, more citizens of North Dakota would have had actual knowledge of the fact that these Oil & Gas companies are getting away with murdering our state.  And at a low price.

So here's a tip for young Nick Smith for the next time he's going to pretend to write a worthwhile story about some huge -- HUGE, I say -- fine being imposed upon a law-breaking oil field company by Lynn Helms and his rollicking regiment of revolving-door regulators: Ask them how much of a fine they're REALLY asking the oil company to give them.

Comments (3)add comment

James said:

Blogger duped again
As a journalist myself that once worked in North Dakota, I must point out you're off. He QUOTED the number to someone else. He didn't state it as fact. Also, I have that Google thing you call. That huge -- HUGE, I say -- $3M you speak of... was levied against a number of businesses. Meaning, if the aforementioned quote is accurate. If it's not...it's a quote. Why do you write a blog anyway? Can you not get a job at the newspapers you rail against?
July 31, 2013
Votes: +0

Chet said:

Thanks for trying. Here's a suggestion for you: See the blue words in the blog post, above? Click on those. When you click on those blue works, through the magic of the internets, other blog posts will magically pop up on your computer screen. Read those blog posts. And read the stories linked-to in those blog posts. And read the source documents received from the Oil & Gas Division.

I know that's asking a lot. But if you do what I do, you will start to recognize how uninformed you appear to the rest of us who have done that.

Maybe it's not just the rookie newbs working at the Tribune. Maybe all "journalists" are clueless.

I have a hard time believing that, though, because I've met one or two journalists who aren't.

And thanks for the job knock. You're funny.
July 31, 2013
Votes: +3

nimrodent said:

Just the facts, ma'am.
Reel jurnlists don't need to chek no facts. Dey kin jist quote them guvmnt doods. Git a job, durty hippie.
August 01, 2013
Votes: -1

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