With No Debate State House Passes Reforms to Oil Spill Reporting Requirements

State Rep. Dick Anderson, a Republican from Willow City, carries legislation to reform North Dakota's oil spill reporting requirements to the floor of the state House.

State Rep. Roscoe Streyle introduced legislation which, in its original form, would have stopped the reporting of oil/produced water spills that are contained and of a volume that’s 10 barrels or less.

Today in the state House, with no debate, an amended version of Streyle’s bill passed on a 82-11 vote with Republicans and Democrats on both sides of the vote.

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The amendments to the bill watered down Streyle’s proposed exemption a bit. Older, so-called “legacy” well pads that are not prepared with impermeable barriers to contain spills will still have to follow existing reporting requirements. Meaning they basically have to report everything.

Here’s an excerpt of the bill as it passed today (full legislation below):

As bill carrier Dick Anderson, a Republican from Willow City, pointed out in bringing to the legislation to the floor, these changes bring North Dakota law on spill reporting into line with federal requirements for on-pad spills.

For off-pad spills our state still has the strictest requirements in the nation outside of Alaska.

The enemies of oil development no doubt hate these changes. Over-reporting, which creates a false impression of spills here in North Dakota, serves their purposes. But for those interested in sound data, and efficient government, this is good reform.

The bill now heads to the state Senate.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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