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Can North Dakota regulate its booming energy industry?

Lydia Gilbertson | Shale Plays Media Google+

TIME magazine released an article today outlining the various issues that North Dakota has faced concerning the safety of the crude oil that it produces. The energy industry has done great things for North Dakota economically, skyrocketing its population, income and employment rate to higher numbers than it has ever seen before.  The regulation of the industry is just one of the challenges, along with infrastructure and housing, that the state has faced at the hands of the rapid expansion of industry.

The North Dakota Industrial Commission (which consists of the governor, the agricultural commissioner, and the attorney general) is holding the second public hearing on energy in the past three years. It will concern the implementation of a new regulation on oil from the state at the drilling sites. It would require oil companies to treat the crude they produce in order to make it less volatile for shipment.

There have been a significant number of train derailments and explosions while transporting the crude and a government study has determined that Bakken crude should be considered more dangerous than other types of crude. The North Dakota Industrial Commission recently paid scientists $400,000 to answer with their own study that found it to be less volatile. If the new regulations on oil production in the state are passed, it would be significantly more expensive to produce in the state.

Alex Altman reports:

“How can you regulate an industry, and make sure they’re following all the rules and safeguards on Mondays,” says Kenton Onstad, a Democratic representative in the North Dakota legislature, “and then on Tuesday go out and promote it? It should be either one or the other.”

Read more: Amid Federal Safety Push, North Dakota Considered New Energy Regulations

Related: Is the North Dakota government controlled by oil and gas?

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