A bill passed by the North Dakota state legislature has shown that while effective negotiation and genuine consensus building might be the most difficult thing to accomplish in politics, positive change can happen if and when it does occur. A working group comprised of landowners, industry representatives, and government officials collaborated on a new pipeline restoration and reclamation oversight program, which will affect all future energy infrastructure projects in the state, including the Dakota Access Pipeline. As Senator Jessica Unruh explained in her recent op-ed:
“The program is multifaceted. As it is implemented, it will provide support to landowners through technical assistance and education outreach regarding pipeline reclamation. If any pipeline reclamation issues exist and persist, landowners can work with local individuals hired by the Ag Department to help resolve the concerns or problems. This will help to ensure proper reclamation practices are completed on pipeline corridors. The hope is that this will help expedite proper installation of pipelines throughout North Dakota. Pipelines reduce rail traffic and delays, get more trucks off our roads, and help reduce natural gas flaring.”
Ensuring that landowners in our region have the support and resources they need when granting easements is critical to making sure that energy infrastructure projects can proceed safely, responsibly, and efficiently. As Senator Unruh noted, cooperation and teamwork can provide mutual benefit from our region’s rich energy resources, and this program is a critical part of that vision.