Oil drilling and extraction in the Bakken is rapidly changing the culture and landscape of western North Dakota. The debate over the benefits of oil drilling and associated economic development and the costs to the environment has been fueled by recent changes to the Drilling Permit Review Policy. The North Dakota Attorney General proposed that drilling permit requests on roughly 1.2 million acres should be subject to additional review and public comment to help preserve unique qualities of 18 areas of extraordinary interest.
The list of places is:
- Black Butte
- Bullion Bute
- Camel’s Hump Butte
- Columnar Junipers/Burning Coal Vein
- Confluence of Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers
- Elkhorn Ranch
- Killdeer Mountain Battlefield
- Lake Sakakawea
- Little Missouri River
- Little Missouri National Grasslands
- Little Missouri State Park
- Pretty Butte
- Sentinel Butte
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park
- Tracy Mountains
- West Twin Butte
- White Butte
- Wildlife Management Areas in the counties of interest
Concerns over individual property rights and the negative impact on economic development resulted in a final version of the policy that only applies to the 600,000 acres of public lands included in the original list. The policy goes into effect on 1 May 2014.
The project will produce a series of photographs aimed at capturing the unique qualities of the areas of extraordinary interest and contrasting them with surrounding oil development.