DRC members support stronger federal energy regulation

Speaking at Quadrennial Energy Review at BSC, DRC members call for improvement in energy infrastructure and stronger landowner protections

 

 

NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  August 8, 2014

DRC members support stronger federal energy regulation

Speaking at Quadrennial Energy Review at BSC, DRC members call for improvement in energy infrastructure and stronger landowner protections

 

Bismarck, ND— Dakota Resource Council members and allies attended today’s U.S. Department of Energy’s Quadrennial Energy Review at Bismarck State College.

Linda Weiss, of Belfield, ND and chairperson of the DRC Board of Directors, said, “There is a lot to do to make sure North Dakotans can produce energy and have a great quality of life here at the same time. The past year has been full of pipeline spills, train explosions, contamination and other incidents resulting from a state preference for drilling faster than infrastructure could be built. Because of the state’s failure to meet its regulatory responsibilities, this is a time for a stronger federal presence and leadership to make sure we move forward in a more responsible way.”

DRC members expressed support for solutions to the inefficiencies in the state’s oil industry. To reduce extremely high and wasteful natural gas flaring, oil permitting must be slowed down to allow gas gathering infrastructure to catch up. Weiss said, “The pitfalls of permitting oil activity without sufficient infrastructure causes a waste of a resource. Unfortunately, state officials choose to drill as fast as possible rather than to adequately prepare. Slowing down the pace of new oil is necessary to allow us to catch up.”

One of the inefficiencies that needs to be fixed is the unnecessary flaring that occurs when current pipelines from wells cannot connect to mid-stream pipelines to get the gas to market. DRC suggested the possibility of incentives to owners of mid-stream gas gathering pipelines to give contracts to out-of-network companies. More solutions would come from comprehensive planning with all stakeholders involved.

A critically important piece to move pipeline construction forward is to increase and strengthen consideration of landowner rights and livelihoods. David Schwable, a Dunn County landowner and DRC member, said, “Oil industry heavy-handedness and state officials’ hands off attitudes have resulted in growing reluctance by landowners to allow more largely unregulated pipelines to crisscross their fields.”

Comments submitted by DRC to the DOE call for “pre-planning to determine the best available infrastructure routes that have a small footprint on existing land uses combined with proper engagement of landowners.”

Marie Hoff, Bismarck and past chair of the DRC Board, spoke at the late afternoon public comments session. Among other recommendations, Hoff addressed the inefficiencies in North Dakota’s wind industry. She said North Dakota has one of the best wind potentials in the United States, but wind production in the state is far short of its potential. Some solutions to this are to optimize how we use our current transmission infrastructure and to invest in new transmission to get more wind on the wires.”

For DRC’s Public Comment, visit: https://drcinfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/DOE-QER-comments-Dakota-Resource-Council.pdf

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Founded in 1978, Dakota Resource Council is a statewide organization bringing together farmers, ranchers, small business owners, workers and other North Dakotans to address issues that affect their lives and livelihoods.

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