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Oil Development

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The top state administrator for oil issues predicts the state will hit the one million barrel per day mark for crude oil production early next year.

It's a major milestone for what is now the second biggest oil producing state in the US.

But critics have charged that the state is being too loose with rules and regulations regarding oil development.

One member of the State Industrial Commission - the three-person panel that oversees nearly every agency regulating oil development - says the critics are wrong.

Jim Olson reports in this week's Eye on Energy.

The North Dakota Industrial Commission has plenty of power - overseeing a list of agencies critical to the state's history and future - and it's populated by three powerful figures - the governor, attorney general, and agriculture commissioner. There are critics of the state's handling to rapid oil and gas development who say the oversight of the industry is lax. This is state senator Connie Triplett on state agencies guiding oil development.

(Sen. Connie Triplett, (D) Grand Forks) "Basically it appears from the outside that they've simply been told not to engage or to engage at a very low level that is wholly supportive of oil development."

But a member of the industrial commission, Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring, says accusations such as that are off the mark.

(Doug Goehring, ND Industrial Commission) "When you look overall, we haven't had any major problems, even minor problems to some degree."

Goehring says he and others in key positions understand their duty to protect the state, while allowing development that secures the state's economic future. And he says there will always be those who disagree with what's going on.

(Doug Goehring, ND Industrial Commission) "They don't like anything you're doing and they keep bringing up issues you know throwing stones and lobbing grenades. And as you even address those issues like for example more gas lines are going in, we're processing more gas, I don't see the activists there celebrating when we do something momentous, every time we turn around they're just criticizing and waiting for the next issue to latch onto."

Goehring says the bottom line to him is that he is serious about protecting the state while watching it grow. With Eye on Energy, Jim Olson, KX News.

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