- Associated Press - Friday, May 9, 2014

DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) - U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Interior Michael Connor was in Dickinson on Friday to discuss venting and flaring on public lands with government, tribal and oil and gas officials.

North Dakota drillers currently burn off, or flare, a record 36 percent of the gas that’s a byproduct of the more valuable substance, oil. The development of pipelines and processing facilities that can capture gas hasn’t kept pace with oil drilling.

Connor’s visit is a part of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan to create jobs and cut carbon pollution.

Some people said Friday that they’re concerned about a valuable industry going up in smoke. Other residents expressed concerns about the impact flaring has on health, the environment and cropland, KXMB television reported.

Connor said his goal is to have proposed new regulations passed by the end of this year.

The deputy secretary said that “one size fits all isn’t necessarily the best approach,” and there has to be flexibility in the rule to meet the appropriate standards.

The North Dakota Industrial Commission considered a proposal in April that would cut back on the state’s booming oil production to control the amount of natural gas that’s being burned off at well sites.

Connor said the standard for the country could be set in North Dakota.

Connor on Thursday spoke with tribal leaders about the issue on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.

___

Information from: KXMB-TV, http://www.kxnet.com