The Department of Agriculture (and Natural Resources) thought about requiring better monitoring of water pollution from oil wells. Texas oil weller Citation Oil & Gas Corp. complained that having to comply with more environmental regulations would mean it would have to stop pumping oil in Harding County, and the DA(NR) naturally thought again and reversed some of its proposed new regs.
Water expert Jay Gilbertson is trying to get the DA(NR) to think a third time:
The state opened a 30-day comment period on the draft permit March 24. Within 30 days after the close of that comment period, the secretary of the state Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources will issue a final determination.
Jay Gilbertson, manager of the East Dakota Water Development District, has submitted written comments on the draft permit. He is urging state regulators to reinstate limits on several substances.
“With the changes proposed in the draft permit, most parameters used to assess the fish and wildlife propagation, recreation and stocking suitability will be discontinued, and none of the parameters used to assess irrigation water suitability will be collected,” Gilbertson wrote. “I am at a loss as to how the purpose of the permit can be accomplished under these circumstances” [Joshua Haiar, “State Environmental Regulators Propose, Then Roll Back, Stricter Environmental Requirements for Oil Wells,” South Dakota Searchlight, 2023.04.21].
Haiar reports the state has received $550,982 in mineral rights revenue from one of the Citation oil wells since 1998, or about $22K a year. That’s a pretty low return on putting the water supply at risk.