North Dakota’s oil industry is opposing some proposed rule changes. The Mineral Resources Department is taking public comments on potential administrative rules, including one in response to a law change approved earlier this year that no longer requires spills under 10 barrels to be reported. The department proposes that oil companies still file a document after cleanup of any spill that wasn’t reported. It would include details about the spill and an explanation of how the spill volume was found.The North Dakota Petroleum Council opposed the proposal, calling it a ”backdoor reporting requirement” that goes far beyond what the Legislature intended. They also opposed a new proposed rule that would require a full environmental assessment at a well site if there was uncertainty about spills or possible contamination.
The Northwest Landowners Association supported the proposal, The Bismarck Tribune reported. The industry group objected to two other proposed rules. One would require a full environmental assessment at a well site if there was uncertainty about spills or possible contamination. Another makes changes to royalty statements. ”It’s still our property, and we want to know about every spill,” Chairman Troy Coons has said. Brady Pelton, government affairs manager for the Petroleum Council, said the proposal won’t provide meaningful information to royalty owners and will cost companies an estimated $500,000 to $1 million to create the software necessary to comply. ”The burdens on operators in North Dakota resulting from these changes could conceivably make the state a less competitive environment in which to operate,” Pelton said.