Kicking Out the Public: Oil & Gas Hearings

The ND Oil and Gas Division of the ND Department of Minerals under the ND Industrial Commission (NDIC) will be holding hearings on Proposed Rule Changes for oil and gas regulation, many of which are a commendable move in the right direction.  (middle of the home page, highlighted in yellow:

However, an arbitrary and capricious “new definition” aimed at who can testify at regular monthly hearings is of great concern to BCA and to others.  It is anticipated that the unclear language will exclude public comment entirely and restrict state and federal management agencies.

Badlands Conservation Alliance (BCA) has testified on oil and gas industry applications that impact public lands since 2013.  Our areas of focus have included the three units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the Little Missouri National Grassland (especially unroaded areas), State Parks and Wildlife Management Areas, and National Wildlife Refuges.  On occasion we have spoken to flaring exceptions.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP) routinely testifies on behalf of National Park Service properties in western ND.

Repeatedly, orders (NDIC approval of industry applications) that come out of these hearings state that TRNP and BCA concerns are “no different than the general public’s interest in minimizing viewshed and other impacts, and is something the Commission already strives to protect to the extent possible.”

BCA would argue that our organization and membership’s personal knowledge, concerns and investment in the surface value far exceed that of either industry or the Commission.  Our aim has always been to inform the process.

Federal and state lands belong to us, the citizens.  We have ownership and thus responsibility.

This “new definition” is exclusionary and limiting.  It is applicable to all members of the public and denies the public’s right to speak on behalf of our natural resources.

Hearings on proposed new rules will be held:

  • April 11th, 2016 at 9 am in the Conference Room of the Oil and Gas Division Building, 1000 E. Calgary Avenue, Bismarck, North Dakota
  • April 12th, 2016 at 9 am in the Conference Room of the Oil and Gas Division Dickinson Field Office, 926 East Industrial Drive, Dickinson, North Dakota
  • April 13th, 2016 at 9 am in the Williston Community Library, 1302 Davidson Drive, Williston, North Dakota
  • April 14th, 2016 at 9 am in the Conference Room of the Oil and Gas Division Minot Field Office, Seven 3rd Street SE, Suite 107, Minot, North Dakota.

Please help us fill the room in opposition to this proposed new definition.