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Regulators to give written reason for cutting oilfield fines

BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota regulators say they will provide written justification if fines and other sanctions are lowered against companies that violate the state’s oil and gas laws.

Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms says he was directed by the state Industrial Commission on Monday to provide the documentation.

Regulators have been publicly criticized for easing penalties as much as 90 percent against companies involved in spills and other oilfield violations. Regulators say it promotes cooperation.

The Industrial Commission that includes Gov. Jack Dalrymple met behind doors with attorneys for more than 90 minutes Monday, discussing six cases against companies that are facing sanctions. No action was taken.

In related news, County objects to any lowered fine in large pipeline spill.

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