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Ron Ness, President, North Dakota Petroleum Council
North Dakota has a very strict regulatory system, and it is often one that is looked at by other states – and in some cases, other countries – when they are working to construct their own regulations. This has been evidenced by the parade of state, federal and international officials who have come through our state in the past ten years to tour and learn from us.
One of the areas where we are among the strictest in the nation is in spill reporting requirements. North Dakota is required to report the release of any fluid, including fresh water, in quantities equaling one barrel (42 gallons) or greater no matter where that spill occurs. Many other states place that threshold at at least 5 barrels and even higher on well locations.
Such a low threshold gives the impression that there are many spills in North Dakota causing mass pollution to our landscape, but this could not be further from the truth. To clear up some of these misperceptions, here are some statistics that shed some light on the true situation in western North Dakota:
The true story of western North Dakota is that industry and others are working with lead researchers at University of North Dakota and North Dakota State University to formulate and apply the latest finding and technologies to not only better remediate spills, but prevent them. Millions of dollars have been spent by industry or contributed to these institutions to improve the way we recover our resources and protect our environment.
North Dakotans have always been a people who work together rather than against one another, and this includes in the development of our resources. There will be many exciting announcements in the future showing how this collaborative spirit can produce amazing results. We only hope misleading reports and incorrect stats don’t erode that spirit, and we can continue to work together to advance this great state.