North Dakota’s State Industrial Commission today is previewing a proposed regulation that would create additional hurdles for oil companies wishing to develop resources near designated “extraordinary places,” regardless of whether or not those resources are on private land.
Some legislators are questioning whether or not the SIC even has that authority, but this morning the President of the ROPE Coalition – a group funded by the oil industry which represents mineral rights owners – told me that this new rule could give legal standing to anti-oil activists and open up the state to serious delays in developing mineral resources.
“Currently if you’re a citizen and you protest a drilling location and the Industrial Commission issues the permit, basically as that citizen who protested you’ve lost, and you have to take your lumps and go on about your business,” Simmons told me in an interview. “The way we understand this new rule is you now have standing so you could bring legal action or simply drag it out through continuing to protest a permit application. We see this as potentially harmful to the private property owners.”
Simmons said this legal standing wouldn’t be limited to people in North Dakota. “You could have me down here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, protesting places in North Dakota.”