North Dakota grasslands oil and gas projects expedited

2011-10-11T10:13:00Z North Dakota grasslands oil and gas projects expeditedThe Associated Press The Associated Press
October 11, 2011 10:13 am  • 

FARGO (AP) - About 80 applications for oil and gas projects in North Dakota's national grasslands will be put on the fast-track through the federal review process.

President Barack Obama announced late Monday that infrastructure projects in the Dakota Prairie and Little Missouri National Grasslands have been designated among 14 high priority projects nationwide. The projects will be expedited through permitting and environmental review processes so construction can begin as soon as possible.

The Obama administration heralded the announcement as an important next step in improving federal efficiency to boost job creation.

The Dakota Prairie Grasslands cover more than 1.2 million acres in southern and western North Dakota and northern South Dakota.


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(8) Comments

  1. Tim308
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    Tim308 - October 13, 2011 11:36 pm
    ND has a lot of federal/public land???? Have you ever been outside of ND? This is just another case of ND'ains thinking everything here is amazing because they've obviously never been anywhere else.

    CO, UT, NV, AZ, NM, TX, MT, WY, WA, OR etc. have many many times the amount of public federal land than ND does. Take a look at this map that shows % of federal (ie public) lands by state.

    Every state west of us has a LOT more public land, I'd be willing to bet that 75% of the states have more public federal land than we do looking at that map.

    As for tearing up natural areas, take a look at what horses/cattle do to the Maah Daah Hey trail when it's muddy, that's more damage than any 1000 atv's or dirt bikes could do when used responsibly. You want to talk about impact, those drill rig roads are going to have more impact than any recreational activity.
  2. Sastella
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    Sastella - October 12, 2011 12:17 pm
    Wow, talk about spoiled ND brats! The rest of the country does not enjoy the access to such vast acres of public ground the way ND does. You are lucky! Get off your hiney and walk, for pete's sake. "Limiting access" does not mean the taxpayer is not allowed to enjoy THEIR land, they are just not allowed to tear up natural areas with OHVs.

    As far as the roads go, when oil companies are granted permits, the location of the well site is negotiated so as to disturb as little of the natural beauty/ecology as possible. For instance, if a bighorn sheep lambing area is located where the oil company wants to set up, the Forest Service/NDGF discuss alternative locations. Also included in those permits are safety standards for roads to the well, plus standards for the pads themselves. The oil companies are held accountable and responsible for maintaining their roads and reclaiming those lands once the permit expires.

    One more thing, if you plan to visit federal/state land, I would be careful about bringing a shovel, chainsaw or ax...unless you are permitted to alter the landscape through a permit. These lands are managed by the federal government FOR the taxpayer, like it or not. YOU are not allowed to "manage" areas simply because something is not convenient for you.

    Federally managed land is PUBLIC land, not simply ND resident land. Enjoy it responsibly.
  3. Tim308
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    Tim308 - October 11, 2011 10:37 pm
    The grasslands here are hardly multi use since you can't take an atv or dirt bike off any established road and there are essentially no OHV specific trails, and those "multi-use" trails all exclude OHV's so basically if you have an atv or dirt bike in ND you get to stay on boring gravel roads. ND has to be one of the worst states for OHV trails and enthusiasts. What's even more funny is the ND tourism site says ND has thousands of miles of ATV trails.....yeah and they are all 20' wide graded gravel roads.

    As for them restricting the roads I'm all for it, it used to be the badlands was a place where you could get away from roads, you could find places you had to hike miles to get into, these days it's had more roads put through it than most neighborhoods. I doubt there's five square miles in the badlands you can't drive into anymore.

    As for the increasing the oil activity, good for the economy but will simply increase the problems we are seeing because the industry is growing faster than the infrastructures can keep up with.
  4. Reason
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    Reason - October 11, 2011 6:22 pm
    Most of the non-gravel roads throughout the grasslands collapsed due to rain this Spring. The forest service in charge of the grasslands has zero plans on fixing any of the roads. If you are coming west to hunt mule deer, bring comfortable footwear, a shovel, an ax or chainsaw.

    The game & fish dept has gotten on the eliminating access bandwagon along with the forest service. These multi-use public lands are being kept by these agencies just like private game reserves were owned by old world royalty.

  5. WinnieJ
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    WinnieJ - October 11, 2011 5:31 pm
    Pillaging the land- nice to see that's what gets fast tracked by the government.
  6. RockNDBakken
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    RockNDBakken - October 11, 2011 4:44 pm
    President Obama is fast tracking this so the Federal Government can collect the OIL REVENUE, not to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. The Feds should stay out of these areas until it becomes necessary to drill them. Our government already collects MILLIONS from the oil wells it already owns.
  7. Marvin51
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    Marvin51 - October 11, 2011 2:16 pm
    No, the grasslands aren't wilderness, they are multiuse. One problem has been the proposals to take out a lot of the existing roads and basically make access very difficult. I don't know if permitting a well trumps the road plan but they will indeed need to do some fixing to keep the roads and trails passable.

    One bright spot is with the wide spacing, like 2560 acres and if the companies bring in the multi well pads to start with, the grasslands really wouldn't need to become well after well. Hopefully the companies and government can work together to get the oil but not ruin the scenery.
  8. justamom
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    justamom - October 11, 2011 11:19 am
    Isn't this land to be protected from this kind of 'job expansion'? How about fixing up the existing highways THRU the grasslands and parks first. At 10 men/women per mile that should about take care of it for the first 1000 miles of ND.
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