Dakota Disaster

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Desperate for jobs, a small community embraces a potentially dirty industry which other towns might turn away. Promises of a clean operation are broken, and the town ends up with far more than it bargained for. It’s an old story, but one that’s taken a new twist in an isolated corner of North Dakota. There, in the small city of Williston, local and state governments became financial partners in a company which built an incinerator to recycle hazardous oil refinery waste. As environmental problems mounted, regulators seemed to do little to address them. Before long, the company collapsed, leaving a legacy of toxic waste, bad debt, and environmental crimes. Eric Whitney of the High Plains News Service reports.

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