November 4, 2013: note the by-line of this LA Times story -- Washington, DC. Something tells me this writer has never been to North Dakota, and certainly hasn't visit the XTO site noted below. Having said that, for the LA Times, it's a fairly balanced article.
WASHINGTON — On a stretch of ranchland nestled in the North Dakota Badlands, under dark, star-filled night skies, serene landscape and solitude, Theodore Roosevelt formed his strong conservationist ideals more than a century ago.
But the night skies around the former president's Elkhorn Ranch, referred to as the "cradle of conservation" by environmentalists and historians, now glow orange. From some of the highest points in what is now Theodore Roosevelt National Park, dozens of natural gas flares are visible not far away. They're the product of an oil boom using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, in a speech Thursday outlining the administration's conservation goals, cited Theodore Roosevelt National Park as an example of what some see as the quintessential issue for the department: striking the right balance between development and conservation.And that's the reason one doesn't invite the Obama hacks to the North Dakota oil patch: it becomes a rallying cry. Save the park! Which, of course, is a non-issue. North Dakota will handle it just fine.
- XTO and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park
- far out of sight of the park; neither bison nor tourists will be able to see it from the park (of course, bison are near-sighted, and wouldn't see it even if standing on the pad)
- the pad will be two miles from the park; near the park's Elkhorn Ranch site
- there is already a road leading to the pad
- the drilling unit will be expanded from two sections to four sections (1280- to 2560-acre)
- allows the two original spacing units to be drilled but from a smaller footprint, and farther from the park
- near the southeast corner of the northern of the previous two 1280-acre units
- considered a "win-win-win-win" by the NDIC director
- XTO withdrew original application which would have put the pad within 300 feet of the ranch site
- the lease is on Forest Service land located within the Little Missouri National Grasslands
- the permit puts additional restrictions on XTO: the commission will only allow XTO to come onto the pad twice to drill the wells: first time to drill one well for each of the portions to secure the least; after that XTO would need to enact a plan to drill the remaining wells upon returning to the site