ND preparing lawsuit if WA Governor signs oil volatility bill

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As citizens of Washington state wait to see if Gov. Jay Inslee signs a bill changing regulations for crude oil transported by rail, North Dakota's Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem is prepping a lawsuit if he signs it.

The law would make oil companies reduce the pressure inside of rail cars carrying North Dakota oil by roughly a third.

The state's industrial commission - which includes Stenehjem, the governor and the ag commissioner -- says a lawsuit would protect the state's economic interests. Stenehjem is confident it would go in North Dakota's favor.

“Federal regulation over railroad is almost absolute and so any effort by states to restrict importation or travel along the rails is a violation of federal law. It's preempted and I don't think any state can do that and there's plenty of case that says so,” said Stenehjem.

Department of Mineral Resource Director Lynn Helms says if oil can't come from the Bakken, Washington refineries would have to import oil from a foreign source.

Helms was also asked how confident he was Inslee would sign the bill. He answers “95 percent.”