Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A ‘Health Time Bomb’ In North Dakota’s Oil Patch

“It’s like working on a health time bomb, we are the guinea pigs for the largest condensate spill in U.S. history. I am glad I got out but feel sorry for workers still there.” Those are the words of Paul Lehto, the man who blew the whistle a couple of months ago on what is proving to be one of the largest industry …


Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Bridge Stays

Well, Wylie Bice gets to keep his bridge. And he won’t be going to the pokey. If you’ve got enough money out there in the oil patch, you can get away with pretty much anything. If you’ve been following this story, you know that Bice is the guy who put a big concrete bridge over the Little Missouri State Scenic …


JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Halek Sentence: Probation And A Halfway House

My old friend, Darrell Dorgan, and I decided to sit in on the sentencing hearing for Jason Halek on Monday morning. A couple of old, retired newsmen, we both went there thinking we were going to see the full measure of the law applied to a Texas con man responsible for one of the biggest pollution violations in North Dakota …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Maybe The Halek Case Is Over; Maybe

If everything goes as planned Monday morning (which would be unusual — nothing much has gone as planned in this case) Jason Halek will walk into the federal courthouse in Bismarck tomorrow morning as a free man, and walk out— figuratively, if not literally — in handcuffs, headed for a federal prison. You’ve read about Halek here many times before. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Anatomy Of A Pipeline Oil Spill

Note: This post has been updated from its original version because of some additional information provided to me by the North Dakota Health Department. Thanks to Inspector Bill Suess for that. Out in the Oil Patch, when a pipeline leaks, or a tank overflows, or a valve is accidentally left open, and something (mostly oil and toxic salt water) spills …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Return To The Scene Of The Crime

Every time I hear the phrase “return to the scene of the crime” I smile and chuckle a little inside. It goes back to an evening about 10 years ago when Lillian and I and her two teenage daughters were living on a small farmstead north of Dickinson, N.D. One early spring evening, just after dark, I was driving Chelsea to …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Who’s Looking Out For North Dakota? Surprise, It’s The U.S. Government. Good For Them. Good For Us.

We return now to an old, familiar story, a story of some really bad guys doing some really bad things to the North Dakota environment (or enviornment, as the Bismarck Tribune spells it in really big headlines on the front page today — have you ever seen a worse newspaper?), getting caught by state “regulators,” then given a slap on …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Oil Patch Murder Story Continues

The noose around James Henrikson’s neck got a little tighter this week —figuratively speaking, since prosecutors have decided not to seek the death penalty for Henrikson for allegedly masterminding the murder-for-hire that included the killing of a young North Dakota oilfield worker. Henrikson sat in a Spokane, Wash., courtroom this past Wednesday and watched three men who carried out the …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Ugliest Story Yet From North Dakota’s Oil Patch

According to the man who says he killed Kristopher “K.C.” Clarke, the young oilfield worker who disappeared more than three years ago is buried in one of North Dakota’s Bad Lands parks — likely Little Missouri State Park or the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. That’s one of the apparent confessions made by Timothy Suckow of Spokane, Wash., …