- Associated Press - Thursday, January 19, 2017

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Williams County officials reinstated a fine against an oil transportation company for failing to pay fees and comply with zoning regulations while it was operating company housing several years ago.

County commissioners decided Tuesday to impose a $1.2 million fine against Western Petroleum LLC and its parent company, Pilot Logistics, The Williston Herald (http://bit.ly/2jrK0pG ) reported.

The total amount is a $1,000 fine for each day the company failed to pay fees for non-renewal of a conditional use permit, being out of compliance with zoning regulations and operating temporary housing.

The site’s rural location near Tioga allowed it to operate unnoticed when county resources were limited because of the amount of oil industry activity.

The county commission imposed a $29.6 million fine against Western Petroleum when the issue was first addressed in 2014, but the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled that the amount wasn’t properly calculated.

The opinion states that the $1,000 fine can be assessed daily against a site and can’t be based on the number of residential units present.

County commissioners said the resulting number comes to $1.2 million.

Pilot Logistics has since filed a lawsuit in federal court and a judge has an injunction as the case progresses through the court system, according to Andrew Shedlock, an attorney for the company. He asked the commission to wait to decide on fines.

“It’s our contention that any action by this board would be in violation of a federal court order,” Shedlock said.

But commission chairman David Montgomery contended that the fines are unrelated to the case because they were levied before the company took the issue to court.

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Information from: Williston Herald, http://www.willistonherald.com

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