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Oil patch counties in opposition to impact authority

Members of the North Dakota Association of Oil and Gas Producing Counties voted to oppose a bill that would create a new authority for regional oil and gas infrastructure planning, according to The Dickinson Press.

The county members said that an entity with authority over strategic planning for oil and gas developments would create more bureaucracy and confusion. The authority, potentially created by Senate Bill 2032, would create a plan to identify infrastructure needed in counties and communities impacted by oil and gas development. The authority would be governed by the North Dakota Industrial Commission. The authority would be required to submit reports to the commission annually and written reports to the legislative council every two years.

Related: North Dakota regulator says falling oil prices not all gloom

County commissioners say they are wary of having to deal with another layer of bureaucracy. According to the Dickinson Press, in a conference call with association board members, consultant Brent Bogar said, “Basically the concept of this is to identify and help plan for infrastructure in the oil and gas region in the state.”

The Dunn County Commission recently discussed the proposal, and Commissioner Daryl Dukart commented on his fellow commissioner’s opposition. He said, “We are totally against putting in another authority … We have the ability to represent ourselves and feel that’s just putting in another form of government authority that we have to work through and with.” As the bill is currently written, the group’s authority would be vaguely defined.

The Association of Oil and Gas Producing Counties previously helped start the strategic planning program Vision West ND. The program includes 19 counties in the oil impacted region of the state. Since March 2012, representatives have met numerous times to discuss the needs of the various counties and cities, as well as providing consultation for planning and changes. The group received approximately $2.4 million from the U.S. Department of HUD Regional Sustainability and the North Dakota Energy Infrastructure and Impact fund.

To read the full report from The Dickinson Press, click here.

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