Attorney General Proposes to Protect "Extraordinary Places" - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Attorney General Proposes to Protect "Extraordinary Places"

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North Dakota is rich in natural beauty, and in Bakken Sweet Crude. It can be a balancing act to preserve the environment while drilling for oil.

And it can be a balancing act to preserve the environment while excavating for oil.

     At the latest Industrial Commission meeting, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem proposed extra protection for sites he says are "extraordinary places".

"We have a plan that designates extraordinary places and say that if we're going to have development and drilling rigs and other energy development in those areas," says Stenehjem. "You have to pay special attention and then develop an impact mitigation as much as possible the impact on the view shed and on the roads and all those kinds of things."

The proposal lists 18 places, including the Elkhorn Ranch,  the Killdeer Battlefield  and Lake Sakakawea.  Stenehjem says there is a need to improve the public's ability to comment after a drilling permit is filed in an area listed as an extraordinary place.

"There is no formal process right now. there is a process because these rigs and permits for these rigs are already being granted in all of these areas, so I think what we need is a more formalized process that assures there's an adequate time for public and professional comment," Stenehjem states.

Don Morrison was at the meeting. He and other members of the Dakota Resource council compiled over ten thousand signatures to reduce the impact of drilling in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  

"We have this treasure. It's very important to our 26th president Theodore Roosevelt and the very reason to have the park is in danger. The clean water, the air, the experience you have  you have at Theodore Roosevelt National Park really would be destroyed as oil developers is encroaching on the park."

Morrison says the proposal is a good start towards ensuring a balance between energy production and preserving nature.  "People want this but they want it the right way. And so that I think it is how do we do it, not whether we do it," says Morrison.

During the meeting Ag commissioner Doug Goehring questions whether the proposal would duplicate the Department of Mineral resource's checklist that is used when reviewing drilling permits.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem's Proposed "extraordinary places"

  • Black Butte in Slope County
  • Buillon Butte in Billings County
  • Camel's Hump Butte in Golden Valley County
  • Columnar Junipers (Limber Pines) and Burning Coal Vein, formerly known as the Dakota National Forest, in northwest slope county.
  • Confluence of Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers;
  • Elkhorn Ranch;
  • Killdeer Mountain Battlefield State Historic Site, Wildlife Management Area;
  • Lake Sakakawea;
  • Little Missouri River;
  • Little Missouri River National Grasslands;
  • Little Missouri State Park;
  • Pretty Butte in Slope County;
  • Sentinel Butte in Golden Valley County;
  • White Butte in Slope County; and
  • Wildlife Management Areas.
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