Representatives of the Northwest Landowners Association attended two thirds of all the legislative meetings to advocate for local landowners. Afterwards, the representatives pass along the information to educate their members.
“I just like to see what the general business is going on and what they’ve been doing in the legislature.” says Craig Sorenson, McKenzie County Landowner.
For the last legislative session, the association had a hand in forty different bills within the House and Senate.
“Our organization introduces ones that our membership asks for and then a big part of things are to monitor what’s coming in, because sometimes you’re on offense, and sometimes you’re on defense.” says Troy Coons, NWLA Chairman.
During the Q&A session, House Bill 1151 was a hot topic.
“When it comes to pipelines and things like that, you can talk that till the cows come home.” says Sorenson.
The “Spill Bill” requires companies to report spills of crude oil, produced water, or natural gas that is more than 10 barrels or 420 gallons. Previously, they were required to report spills of one barrel or more. With such high amounts of oil, NWLA Chairman Troy Coons is concerned with how human error can play a huge role in the numbers reported. At the site of a spill, it’s relatively easy to see when a spill reaches the original 42 gallon mark. However, once it reaches over 100 gallons — it can be difficult to tell the difference between 350 gallons and 420 gallons.
In the cases where a company fails to report a spill, the NWLA is pushing for a rule change for the Department of Mineral Resources to enact a “Sundry Notice.” If an inspector were to find evidence of a spill, the Sundry Notice would require a full report on what the spill was, where it was, how much there was, and how it was cleaned up.
This report would be filed with the Department of Mineral Resources, which the property owner would then be able call and ask for.
“I’d like to see the industry be more forthcoming with answering questions on minerals.” says Sorenson.
This topic as well as the issues of Hydrocarbons and Brine Spills will all likely be pushed for discussion for the next legislative session.