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Gas Flare from Bakken Oil Well of North Dakota. (Getty Images via NewsCred)

Senate rejects Bakken flaring bill

Last Thursday North Dakota senators shot down a measure that aimed to further restrict and reduce flaring activity, according to a report by the Forum News Service.

Senate Bill 2287 failed with 35 votes against and 11 in favor. The bill would have cut the amount of time a well is allowed to flare from one year to 90 days. It also would have placed restrictions on the volume of natural gas flared each day and nullify some exemptions from the current policy.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jim Dotzenrod (D-Wyndmere), stated that the natural gas currently being flared, or burned off, into the atmosphere is an unreasonable amount. He said as much as 24 percent of the produced natural gas is being flared, an unacceptable figure in other oil and gas producing states, especially when there is gas capture technology available.

As reported by the Forum News Service, Dotzenrod said, “I think we as a legislature have made it easy to flare.” According to Sen. Donald Schailble (R-Mott), because the North Dakota Industrial Commission has addressed the issues with recent gas capture goals, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee gave the bill a do-not-pass recommendation.

Schailble also said that members of the committee thought that the industry was making progress toward flaring reduction but the progress has been slowed by their inability to secure pipeline easements. Schaible said, “We feel the policies we have are working and need more time to get the desired effect. Our restrictions would magnify the problems and create greater hardships for the industry and the state.”

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