The newly adopted rules include provisions for reporting fires and spills, signage, and safety equipment.

North Dakota Commission OKs Rule Changes Governing Oil Industry

The rule changes also establish a process for obtaining tax incentives to encourage operators to reducing flaring.

The North Dakota Industrial Commission has adopted a set of rule changes for the booming oil industry in the state. The commission's Dec. 19 adoption is not the final word -- there will be a review by the attorney general's office and the Legislature's Administrative Rules Committee must approve them before the finalized rules can take effect as expected April 1, 2014.

The amendments contain numerous new provisions for recycled water treatment plants, signage and identification on facilities,and reporting of fires, leaks, spills, or blowouts. One provision will require safety equipment to be installed at the top of a "Christmas tree" and remotely operated, and another says electric generators must be 150 feet away from any producing well or oil tank.

Another provision would require the operator of any rail facility to report the amount of oil that it receives or ships out each month. The new rules also establish a process for obtaining tax incentives to encourage operators to reduce flaring, which has been a contentious issue for North Dakota landowners.

"Today's approval of rule changes shows the commission's continued commitment to oversight of the oil and gas industry," said Gov. Jack Dalrymple, the commission's chair. "These changes include regulations on gathering lines that were not previously included in pipeline rules."

"The Legislature saw a need for greater pipeline enforcement due to the growth in pipelines to move all fluids in western North Dakota," said Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. "The proposed rules will require operators to submit data to the Industrial Commission to track construction and reclamation of pipeline, and also track pipeline locations for surface owners."

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