4 A North Dakota Reservation Where Fracking Rules

FORT BERTHOLD, NORTH DAKOTA—The haze from the wildfires burning in Washington and Montana followed me as I left the Otter Creek Valley and headed northeast toward North Dakota. The land was open grasslands with few trees. The late August sun was unrelenting, temperatures climbing into the upper 90s. I reluctantly left the back roads for Interstate 94, hoping to finish the 400-mile drive to Fort Berthold before dark.

As the day progressed, the soot and smog from methane flares and, I assumed, fracking by-products deepened the haze and added an odor of hydrocarbons. The flares were my first signal that I was coming into Bakken oil country. Then well pumps began to appear in farm fields, like giant ...

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