Residents who filled the upstairs courtroom at the courthouse on Tuesday afternoon heard assurances from Forest Service officials that they are committed to maintaining a presence in Newcastle.
On the same day, the NLJ was told by Black Hills Energy that they weren’t prepared to tell the public anything about the rumored sale of its oil operation here, Black Hills Exploration and Production, because nothing is finalized.
Earlier that morning, a hack from ONEOK Pipeline— remember them— informed the commissioners of the company’s plan to build another pipeline through the county, and tried to assure them that we would be respected in the process.
We don’t believe them, and you shouldn’t either.
We barely know ONEOK because they rolled through, dropped their pipe in the ground and have been counting their money in Tulsa, Oklahoma ever since. The Forest Service and BHE have moved people out of this community for more than two decades while both entities have constructed multi-million dollar palaces for themselves in Rapid City. Through it all, they promised to maintain a presence here, but an occassional photo op and a couple of big cardboard checks can never compensate us for the families (and human capital) that we’ve lost. These bureaucracies don’t care about us and they certainly don’t respect us, and if we don’t stand up to them now they never will. We have taken these entities at their word for far too long, and you only need to look at our Main Street to see what we’ve gotten in return. It is time to make as much noise as we can and get our elected officials involved, or BHE’s abandoned office won’t be the only building covered in “CLOSED” signs.