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If the pump jack had indeed been approved, it's possible the "eyesore" could have been remedied with a decoration such as this one found in an old Texas oil town. (Image: mlhradio via Flickr)

Dickinson pump jack denied after residents complain

Maybe if the company had proposed to make the pump jack look like an actual horsehead their neighbors wouldn’t have complained.

This week just outside Dickinson, working on a newly acquired oil well, a company replaced the existing underground pump with an above-ground pump jack. On Tuesday, after numerous complaints from nearby residents, it was deemed “an eyesore and a safety hazard that diminishes their property values,” reports the Bismarck Tribune.

The owner of the oil well, Texas-based Denbury Onshore LLC, submitted a request to use a pump jack to the North Dakota Industrial Commission. Residents of the El Rancho subdivision, however, submitted a petition requesting that the original 1995 permit be enforced, which requires the use of subsurface equipment.

As reported by the Tribune, “The three-member panel consisting of Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring agreed, voting unanimously to deny a request from Denbury Onshore LLC to use the pumpjack.”

The company, which has owned the well for several years, had recurring production problems due to pump failures. Denbury was unaware of the Industrial Commission’s requirements when it replaced the pump (placed 6,000 feet underground) with a beam-style pump. A homeowner notified the state before the well began production and remains shuttered. Click here to read the full report from the Bismarck Tribune.

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