Legislative Committee on Oil Issues - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Legislative Committee on Oil Issues

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Farmers who've had crop land ruined by salt water spills related to the oil industry were asking state legislators for help today.

The Energy Development and Transmission Committee held a meeting at Minot's State Fair Center, and heard from farmers and experts on soil contamination from salt.

Salt spills can leave land useless for decades.

Bob Grant of the Northwest Landowners Association told committee members that the state needs to come up with regulations and safeguards so that farm land is not lost to future generations.

(Bob Grant, Northwest Landowners Association) "I think it's time that we make sure we do it right. We need to have the land here for our future generations. We need to do it right this time, we've been pretty poor in the past."

(Dr. Kevin Sedivec, NDSU Researcher) "I think that what's sad is we do know some answers now, and the problem is a lot of them are very expensive."

Dr. Sedivec says it can cost one hundred thousand dollars to reclaim a five acre saltwater spill.

Another topic covered today was dealing with waste related to the oil industry, including filter socks - the focus of recent concern in Noonan after the discovery of an illegal dump site for the socks.

Ron Ness of the North Dakota Petroleum Council said he supports prosecution of those who dump such waste illegally.

But he also stressed that the public should be told that the sock hold extremely low levels of radiation.

Ness said the state needs to find a way to provide disposal options for the socks - much like it did in helping farmers get rid of dangerous pesticides with its "Safe Send" program.

(Ron Ness, N.D. Petroleum Council) "Let's figure out a North Dakota solution for a North Dakota waste. That's the way we've always done business and we need to do it."

(Jay Almlie, Energy & Environment Research Center-UND) "This is not nuclear waste. This is NORM (Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material) waste and as such it's three orders of magnitude less hazardous than nuclear waste. It's three orders of magnitude less radioactive than nuclear waste. That's important science to get out there. You need to get educating people so we don't keep debating emotional topics."

The "NORM Waste" Almlie refers to stands for Naturally Occurring Radioactive Waste.

The legislative committee will look into the ideas collected today for possible bills to be presented to the 2015 legislature.

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