“My name is Donny Nelson. I’ve lived here in Keene all my life. I’m a fourth-generation farmer and rancher. We’ve had oil on our ranch since the fifties. Old wells, new wells…and of course when you talk wells, we’re talking multi-well pads. I just…I have no idea how many wells are on our land. Many, many wells.”

Donny Nelson
Keene, ND

north dakota flaring

“You can hear the flares. If you’re close to them, they’re real loud. Some of them you can smell, if you’re… you know, if the wind’s right. We were just at my nephew’s the other day, and there’s a huge flare, up the coulee quite a ways, but they– their problem is H2S. Which is dangerous. It smells like rotten eggs. I’ve told them, that whole area there, it’s bad. We had other relatives who lived there, but every single one of them has had cancer or died from cancer, from earlier booms.”

ranching in north dakota

“Well, there’s many things about flaring. Number one is– what a waste. I mean, it just makes absolutely no sense to waste a one-time resource. The other thing is, who knows what the health problems will be down the road? You know? There’s certainly gotta be some health impacts, because we know what’s coming out of them. All the different gases and chemicals and so on. That’s got to have some impact. And then the change to the landscape…you don’t go out and look at the stars. You sit and look at the whole skyline lighted up by flares.”

“You just don’t know until you’ve lived through it. There’s no other way to explain it, until it happens to you. There’s some people that all the drilling and development probably doesn’t bother, but usually those people– or this is what I’ve seen– they probably really don’t want to be here anyway. Because as soon as they do get some money from the drilling, they leave. And I don’t want to leave.”

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