- Associated Press - Thursday, August 17, 2017

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A federal judge says drilling can temporarily resume at an oil site near a popular boat ramp at a North Dakota resort.

The Three Affiliated Tribes had asked the federal government to halt drilling near at a ramp at the Van Hook Resort in New Town, arguing the site should be farther away from Lake Sakakawea under tribal policy. The drilling site is only about 800 feet (244 meters) from the lake.

The government initially agreed and ordered Slawson Exploration to halt its operations. But the company challenged the order in U.S. District Court and requested that work be allowed to continue while its appeal is considered. A judge granted the request Tuesday, The Bismarck Tribune reported .

Slawson said it has spent $3.8 million on developing wells, including installing a sound barrier wall to minimize impacts to the adjacent boat ramp and recreation area.

Tribal Chairman Mark Fox said the ruling was disappointing. He said this wasn’t the first time Slawson has failed to comply with tribal law.

The tribe argued it its appeal that the only way to protect the lake and other tribal waters was “to require enough setback from the lake to provide emergency response time in case a spill is not contained within the oil and gas facility.”

The ruling allowing drilling to proceed will be in effect until an Aug. 29 hearing.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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