Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

May 26, 2022

Fort Berthold's Oil and Gas Wells: Toxins Endanger Thousands of Children and Adults

Flares burn on the Fort Berthold Indian on Oct. 27, 2021. Credit: Isaac Stone Simonelli/Howard Center for Investigative Journalism

NEW ANALYSIS: Oil and gas production in North Dakota threatens the health of 38,239 residents including 10,660 children 
Map Data Shows EPA Must Strengthen Newly Proposed Safeguards to Protect Public Health, Climate

Dakota Resource Council
Sean Arithson, Communications Coordinator
Earthworks Alan Septoff, Earthworks |

BISMARCK, North Dakota -- A new geospatial analysis released by Earthworks today shows 38,239 residents, including 10,660 children, reside near or attend schools or daycares within a ½ mile threat radius of active oil and gas operations in North Dakota.

This analysis comes as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works to finalize their widely supported proposed safeguards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and associated toxic air pollution from new and existing oil and gas facilities and as they prepare to introduce a supplemental rule to address routine flaring and smaller leak-prone wells.

“The Oil and Gas Threat Map confirms what those of us living on Fort Berthold Reservation already know, North Dakota’s Oil and Gas development puts tens of thousands of adults and children in harm's way. Our state, federal, and tribal governments and regulators must reign in this industry and protect the air we breathe. I urge EPA and BLM agencies to take this opportunity and put an end to routine flaring and venting which plague our communities.” Lisa DeVille, Mandaree, ND Board member Dakota Resource Council and Fort Berthold Protectors of Water and Earth Rights.

In the United States, oil and gas production is the largest industrial methane polluter, a greenhouse gas at least 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Peer-reviewed science shows that toxic pollutants released along with methane from oil and gas facilities puts people at risk for cancer, respiratory illness, fetal defects, blood disorders, and neurological problems ––and that risk increases for children and the elderly.

A fact sheet detailing map-based data can be found attached, for your reporting.
The Oil and Gas Threat Map displays information about those living within a half-mile of oil and gas facilities in North Dakota and other states. Although scientific literature shows that health impacts are also associated at distances greater than ½ mile, the analysis conservatively uses ½ mile because it is the distance at which these impacts have been most clearly correlated. The Oil and Gas Threat Map will also display data about the risk of increased cancer and respiratory health rates at the county level. In addition to the data that the Oil and Gas Threat Map presents, users can enter their own addresses to see if they live in a threat zone.

To access the map, visit

Upon request, we can provide the following:
Media interviews with local advocates and experts
Walk-through of the map-based analysis
Peer-reviewed science behind the ½ mile threat radius

Dakota Resource Council’s mission is to promote sustainable use of North Dakota’s natural resources and family-owned and operated agriculture by building member-led local groups that empower people to influence the decision-making processes that affect their lives and communities.

No comments: