Oil and gas package can proceed to 2013 sessionEight pieces of legislation got a green light to be introduced in the 2013 session by a special committee that studied North Dakota’s recent experiences.
By: Bob Mercer, Republic Capitol Bureau
PIERRE — The Legislature’s Executive Board received recommendations Friday for possible improvements in state laws regulating oil and gas development.
The board gave a green light for eight pieces of legislation to be introduced in the 2013 session by a special committee that studied North Dakota’s recent experiences.
The measures generally would strengthen landowner protections and are likely to receive consideration promptly in January, as South Dakota lawmakers decide how to apply what North Dakota has learned.
The package of legislation is proposed mostly as pre-emptive action, in the unlikely case the boom times under way in the Bakken formation would move into western South Dakota.
A ninth measure, which would reinstate the crime of sheep rustling, also is likely to be submitted by Rep. Betty Olson, R-Prairie City.
Study committee members decided that topic wasn’t directly covered by their oil and gas assignment. The panel’s chairman was Rep. Roger Solum, R-Watertown.
The proposed legislation covers a wide array of matters including drilling bonds, landowner mediation, landowner damage payments, public disclosure of fracking processes and landowner notification before exploration.
Several pieces of legislation would cover trust accounts for mineral-rights payments owed to people who can’t be located, as well as reforms affecting small holders of mineral rights.
Potentially the most controversial would be a proposal to use money from the state petroleum-release compensation fund for addressing property damage.
Several legislators, such as Sen. Craig Tieszen, R-Rapid City, said Friday they have reservations about that idea. Resistance also has been signaled from Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s administration.
The Legislature’s study panel focused on possible changes in state laws, and considered 17 possible pieces of legislation, while the governor’s office operated a task force that looked at social and economic impacts from a potential boom.