- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 3, 2017

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The land between the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the former president’s Elkhorn Ranch has been pegged as a potential test site for better oil field development practices.

Those practices allow the oil industry to drill while also protecting the North Dakota Badlands, The Bismarck Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/2oXsn7x ). Other possible sites may include abandoned well or industrial sites, areas that no longer fit into normal farming or ranching practices or sites that are segregated from landowner’s operations.

The idea for the test site came from a task force formed in 2016 and comprised of ranching, government, conservation and industry representatives.

Advisory group members Gene Veeder, who represented the ranching industry, and Blaine Hoffman, a retired member of the oil industry, said the plan would apply the development practices learned to future projects. They said the plan would also look for new ways to improve those practices. Hoffman said he believes there are a number of things of value to North Dakota and the oil industry within the action plan.

For the pilot project, the group would call for landscape planning on a larger scale rather than on a unit-by-unit basis so that units wouldn’t be adversely affected by a neighbor. The group would also like to see infrastructure to reduce the footprint of development, as well as state funding to research reducing pipeline disturbances in the Badlands’ sensitive soil and landowner education on reclamation best practices.

Rod Backman, of Covenant Consulting, said the task force is seeking feedback before taking the idea to state regulators.

“We’re hopeful we get a positive response,” said Backman, pointing out that he’s already had interest in the pilot project from a couple oil companies. “We’re optimistic.”

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


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