Fifteen members of an advisory panel to study pipeline safety technology were announced Monday by Gov. Jack Dalrymple.
The group is made up of state and federal officials along with oil and gas industry officials and engineers.
In his Monday statement, Dalrymple said the panel will research safety technologies and its recommendations will be available to lawmakers, regulators and the public.
“Pipelines are essential to the safe and efficient shipment of North Dakota’s vast oil and gas resources, but their operation requires a total commitment to protecting our public health, our water supplies and the environment as a whole,” Dalrymple said.
In November, Dalrymple met with officials with the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which oversees pipeline operations in the state. Officials at that time agreed to have technical staff participate in the panel.
The move to review pipeline safety stems from a Sept. 29 oil pipeline spill on a wheat farm near Tioga. What was originally thought to be a smaller 750-barrel spill turned out to be a spill of more than 20,600 barrels, one of the largest in state history.
“We expect pipeline operators in North Dakota to use best practices, and that may mean going above and beyond existing requirements to monitor and control pipeline flows,” Dalrymple said.
Jeff Zent, a spokesman for Dalrymple, said the panel’s first meeting is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 9. A time and location hasn’t been determined.
Zent said the governor hasn’t set a hard deadline for when the panel should have recommendations.
“It will revolve around what these folks are able to put together,” Zent said.