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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Let's clear up the facts

Dear Editor,

The  residents of our community have been speaking without researching the facts. Ross and Tara Oakland are being attacked by residents who have not researched the facts but instead, are doing nothing more than repeating what someone else said. So, let’s clear up some facts.

Oaks Disposal is licensed with the State of Montana DEQ to operate as a Class II Solid Waste Management System. The permit allows them to accept 30 pCi/gm total Radium. There are four wells located at the corners to monitor the groundwater. Oaks Disposal has been inspected and is in full-compliance, according to Montana DEQ.

The Oaks Disposal is the closest destination to the Bakken that can accept naturally occurring radioactive material, or NORM. NORM is present underground, and is brought to the surface that means everywhere

Common household items contain radioactivity, include cat litter measuring at five picocuries per gram and granite countertops measuring at 27! The CDC lists natural gas as a major contributor of radon released through such items as furnaces, hot water heaters and stoves.

According to the World Nuclear Association, NORM results outdoors from mining and burning coal, making and using fertilizers, as well as oil and gas production. People should not ignore the fact there is a significant amount of NORM in our country. Just realize it’s naturally occurring and happens to be everywhere.

Lynn Helms, director of the state Department of Mineral Resources is quoted as saying, “The type or radiation (given) off is blocked by clothing or almost anything...if you’re not physically handling it yourself, there really is no risk.” 

If exposure to NORM in the oilfield was so dangerous, wouldn’t oil companies be required to protect their workers?

The fact is Oaks Disposal is licensed by the DEQ as a Class II Solid Waste Management System and accepts materials that have NORM which are found everywhere. Oaks Disposal is a business. 

The Oaklands are business owners, generous members of our community who have helped out including donating money to our schools in order to construct a new sports facility that will benefit many other businesses in revenue gained from track and field events, football games and tournaments.

Let’s take a serious look around. Our area has many needs; a new wastewater treatment facility, a new school and expanding our county jail. Where will the money come from? 

I am very grateful for Ross and Tara Oakland’s help in the community because I don’t see anyone else stepping up to the plate to donate that kind of money to help.


Nancy Cullinan

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