Tag Archives: Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas

The difference between oil “conditioning” and oil “stabilization”

Repost from The Daily Yonder, Speak Your Piece
[Editor: Ok, I knew North Dakota regulators were working on regulations to get rid of volatile gases in the crude they ship by train, but I didn’t pay attention: I missed understanding the difference between oil “conditioning” and oil “stabilization.”  If Ron Schalow is right, North Dakota officials are far from fixing the problem of volatile crude oil “bomb trains.”  This is an important distinction – read on….  – RS]

North Dakota’s Other Oil Boom

North Dakota regulators could lessen the danger of crude-oil explosions that have killed bystanders and damaged property. Instead, the state’s Industrial Commission is likely to allow oil producers to continue shipping dangerous crude across North America when a commonly used fix is possible.
By Ron Schalow, 11/24/2014
A train carrying crude oil killed 47 people when it derained and exploded in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, in July 2013. | Photo by Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

The safety of millions of Americans who live, work or play within a mile of tracks where Bakken oil trains run are in the hands of three mortal men.

Unfortunately, these men make up the North Dakota Industrial Commission.

“It’s a little like the Wild West up in the Bakken, where everybody gets to do what they want to do,” says Myron Goforth, president of Dew Point Control LLC, in Sugarland, Texas. “In the Eagle Ford (Texas shale play), you’ve got to play by the rules, which forces the oil companies to treat it (crude) differently.”

Not in North Dakota, where oil regulators are finally feeling pressure to require the Bakken oil producers to render the trains non-explosive. The push comes six years after the first massive Bakken oil train explosion outside of Luther, Oklahoma, and seven months since the last, in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia, where a quirk of physics turned the exploding tanker cars towards the river, sparing many people and buildings.

Making the trains safer has been possible all along. It seems that politicians in some states don’t want their citizens or towns incinerated, nor do they wish to watch property values drop in the meantime.

Will the North Dakota Industrial Commission act?

Spoiler alert: No.

The Bakken crude needs to be “stabilized,” to remove all explosive “natural gas liquids” such as ethane, propane and butane. That requires billions of dollars in additional equipment and infrastructure, and the oil companies don’t want to pay for it.

Stabilization is a standard practice in many other parts of the United States. And it’s a required part of preparing crude for shipment via pipelines. The explosion risk North Dakota’s lack of regulation imposes on railroad communities all over North America is completely unnecessary. And requiring stabilization would a further boost to the state’s economy. But that’s not enough for the commission.

Instead, the commission is going to sell a different process called “conditioning,” which the oil companies have been doing all along. And conditioning doesn’t do the job, unless you think that job should include towering fireballs, mushroom clouds, charred buildings and graves.

Railway Age explains the difference well:

This conditioning lowers the ignition temperature of crude oil—but not by much. It leaves in solution most of the culprit gases, including butane and propane. Even the industry itself says conditioning would not make Bakken crude meaningfully safer for transportation, though it would make the state’s crude more consistent from one well to another.

The only solution for safety is stabilization, which evaporates and re-liquefies nearly all of the petroleum gases for separate delivery to refiners. Stabilization is voluntarily and uniformly practiced in the Eagle Ford formation in Texas.

And, right on cue, on November 13 North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms presented the North Dakota Industrial Commission with proposed new standards (there never were any old standards) to “condition” the Bakken crude, supposedly for the purpose of making the Bakken oil trains non-explosive. Or somewhat less explosive, kinda not explosive, or to get the height of the fireballs down into double digits… I don’t know.

A crude-oil train derailed and exploded in Lynchburg, Virginia, in the spring of 2014. Photo by Elyssa Ezmirly

But, if the goal is to render the Bakken oil trains NON-explosive, the proposal to “condition” the crude isn’t going to cut it.

I repeat, the producers have always “conditioned” the crude, but, evidently, now they’re going to be “forced” by the North Dakota Industrial Commission to turn the knob a few notches to the right, and everything will be peachy.

If it was that simple, perhaps they should have done that before dozens of people got killed – maybe sometime shortly after the first Bakken oil train derailed and blew sky high in 2008.

Commission Chair and North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple has so much faith in “conditioning” that his own emergency exercise of a Bakken oil train derailment and explosion estimated 60 casualties in Bismarck or Fargo, both medium-sized cities in North Dakota. One can only guess the number of deaths, if a Bakken train were to jump the rails in Minneapolis or Chicago.

Furthermore, taxpayers are footing the bill for billions to outfit, equip and train firefighters and emergency personnel to deal with a Bakken oil derailment and explosion. Quebec is on the hook for the $2.7 billion disaster in Lac-Megantic, a village of 6,000. That explosion required responses from “more than 1,000 firefighters from 80 different municipalities in Quebec and from six counties in the state of Maine,” according to a report by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

How much will it cost your community if tragedy strikes? Will North Dakota pay?

But, there is a bright side. When the next, or the next, or the next Bakken oil train disaster kills more people and decimates a section of Albany or Sacramento or Missoula or Perham, North Dakota can quit worrying about how to spend all of the money piling up in the Bank of North Dakota from oil production revenues. It will be gone to the survivors and a long list of stakeholders.

The loss will be due to willful negligence, disinterest or incompetence on the part of three men.

Ron Schalow lives in Fargo, North Dakota, and is part of the Coalition for Bakken Crude Oil Stabilization.

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    Shale Oil Drillers Deliberately Wasted Nearly $1 Billion in Gas, Harming Climate

    Repost from Desmogblog

    Shale Oil Drillers Deliberately Wasted Nearly $1 Billion in Gas, Harming Climate

    2014-09-04, by Sharon Kelly

    In Texas and North Dakota, where an oil rush triggered by the development of new fracking methods has taken many towns by storm, drillers have run into a major problem.

    While their shale wells extract valuable oil, natural gas also rises from the wells alongside that oil. That gas could be sold for use for electrical power plants or to heat homes, but it is harder to transport from the well to customers than oil. Oil can be shipped via truck, rail or pipe, but the only practical way to ship gas is by pipeline, and new pipelines are expensive, often costing more to construct than the gas itself can be sold for.

    So, instead of losing money on pipeline construction, many shale oil drillers have decided to simply burn the gas from their wells off, a process known in the industry as “flaring.”

    It’s a process so wasteful that it’s sparked class action lawsuits from landowners, who say they’ve lost millions of dollars worth of gas due to flaring. Some of the air emissions from flared wells can also be toxic or carcinogenic. It’s also destructive for the climate – natural gas is made primarily of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and when methane burns, it produces more than half as much CO2 as burning coal.

    Much of the research into the climate change impact the nation’s fracking rush – now over a decade long – has focused on methane leaks from shale gas wells, where drillers are deliberately aiming to produce natural gas. The climate change impacts of shale oil drilling have drawn less attention from researchers and regulators alike.

    A new report from Earthworks finds that drillers in North Dakota alone have burned off over $854 million worth of gas at shale oil wells since 2010, generating 1.4 billion pounds of CO2 in 2013 alone. The 1.4 billion pounds of CO2 produced by flaring equal the emissions from 1.1 million cars or light trucks – roughly an extra 10 cars’ worth of emissions per year for every man, woman and child living in the state’s largest city, Fargo (population 113,000).

    Flaring at shale oil wells is now so common that satellite images of the largely rural state at night are dotted with what appear at first to be major metropolises but are instead the flares burning round-the-clock in the Bakken shale drilling patch.

    But while the highly visible flaring in North Dakota has drawn the most media attention, the practice is on the rise in Texas, particularly in the state’s Eagle Ford shale.

    “The Eagle Ford produces considerably more natural gas than the Bakken,” Earthworks noted. “In June 2014, the Eagle Ford Shale produced seven billion cubic feet per day, while the Bakken produced 1.3 billion cubic feet per day.”

    In 2013, nearly a third of the gas in North Dakota’s Bakken was flared – but the numbers coming from Texas seem a bit more murky, in part because unlike North Dakota, Texas does not tax flared gas and – according to a new four-part investigative report by the region’s newspaper – the state has failed to track or control flaring adequately.

    The year-long investigation by the San Antionio Express-News recently uncovered striking problems with the regulation of flaring in Texas, including:

    • Texas law forbids drillers to flare past 10 days without a permit – but out of the twenty wells that had flared the most gas in the state, the paper discovered that 7 had never obtained required permits. State law calls for fines of up to $10,000 a day for flaring violations, but regulators have issued a total of less than $132,000 in fines in the Eagle Ford since the boom began, despite over 150 “possible flaring or venting violations” found by state inspectors in the region between 2010 and 2012.
    • Statewide, 33 billion cubic feet of natural gas were flared or vented in 2012 – a 400 percent rise from 2009, when the shale oil rush arrived. The Eagle Ford was responsible for two thirds of the state’s wasted gas in 2012, totaling 21 billion feet for the year. Eagle Ford drillers burned off gas at ten times the combined rate of drillers in the state’s other oil fields.
    • That much gas produces enormous amounts of airborne pollution. “In the early days of the boom, flaring released 427 tons of air pollution each year. By 2012, pollution levels shot up to 15,453 tons, a 3,500 percent increase that exceeds the total emissions of all six oil refineries in Corpus Christi,” the paper wrote. “Moreover, flaring and other oil industry activity in the Eagle Ford released more ozone-creating pollution in the summer of 2012 than two dozen Texas oil refineries.”
    • Despite concerns over how these emissions can affect human health, the state operates just seven air monitoring stations in the region. It can take regulators up to 10 days to arrive to take samples when citizens complain about potentially hazardous fumes.
    • Texas’s environmental agency, the Railroad Commission, is run by a 3-member panel of elected officials. “The three Railroad Commissioners have raised $11 million from campaign donors since 2010,” the paper found. “At least half that money came from employees, lobbyists and lawyers connected to the oil and gas industry, according to campaign finance records.”

    Flaring has angered environmentalists, landowners and even many in the oil and gas industry itself.

    The Railroad Commission is statutorily required ‘to prevent waste of Texas’s natural resources’,” said Earthworks Texas organizer Sharon Wilson. “I don’t see how the Railroad Commission isn’t breaking the law by allowing drillers to waste natural gas by flaring it off rather than capturing it.”

    “Nobody hates flaring more than the oil operator and the royalty owners,” Ron Ness of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, an industry trade group, told Reuters last year. “We all understand that the flaring is an economic waste.”

    But the problem is projected to get worse not better. An environmental report from the Alamo Area Council of Governments predicted that by 2018, emissions of volatile organic compounds – which the EPA warns can have “short- and long-term adverse health effects” – could quadruple in the Eagle Ford.

    Nonetheless, the EPA has decided to consider air emissions from each shale well, pipeline compressor or other piece of equipment individually when deciding whether there’s enough pollution for federal regulators to get involved – meaning that even though the Eagle Ford’s wells collectively pollute more than multiple oil refineries, the flaring escapes federal oversight.

    New federal regulations, aimed at cutting down on the release of climate-changing carbon dioxide and methane from the wells and scheduled to go into effect in 2015, will require many drillers to use a process called a “green completion,” rather than flaring the gas or venting it to the atmosphere as raw unburned methane. Green completions can help reduce leaks by up to 99 percent, according to a study by the Environmental Defense Fund that has was heavily touted by the drilling industry and its advocates.

    But those requirements only apply to wells whose purpose is to produce natural gas, not oil. This means the regulations will have little impact on shale wells in Texas’s Eagle Ford, the Express-News pointed out.

    More than 1 million Texans live near the Eagle Ford, some of whom say they have suffered a litany of health effects that they suspect are tied to flaring.

    We went from nice, easy country living to living in a Petri dish,” Mike Cerny, who lives within a mile of 17 oil wells, told the Center for Public Integrity.  “This crap is killing me and my family.”

    There’s a simple way to spot a poorly-performing flare. “If you see a smoking flare that’s not complete combustion,” Neil Carman, a former state scientist who now works with the Sierra Club, told the Express-News. “If it’s not completed, you get a smorgasbord of chemicals.”

    At times, the gas is simply released unburned directly to the atmosphere – a practice labeled “venting” by the industry.

    Texas state regulators fail to distinguish between flaring and venting in their public production database, the newspaper pointed out, making it impossible to know precisely how bad the impacts of the pollution might be.

    Photo Credit: Flaring Natural Gas in North Dakota, via Shutterstock

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      North Dakota perspective on Bakken: ‘Getting it right’

      From The Bismarck Tribune, Bakken Breakout
      [An interesting analysis of the future of Bakken crude extraction from the perspective of an apparent oil industry advocate.  They’re listening!  – RS]

      Getting it right

      By Brian Kroshus, Publisher, September 17, 2014

      Domestic oil production levels in the United States continue to rise – largely the result of the boom in shale oil drilling across the country. Notable plays like the Bakken shale in North Dakota and Permian and Eagle Ford shale in Texas, have been leading the way with more promising formations in different geographies, targeted for exploration and drilling in the years ahead.

      Plays like the Bakken, Permian and Eagle Ford were actually in decline until only recently, having peaked decades ago when conventional, vertical wells were the only economically viable means of extracting crude. Now, those same plays are part of a drilling renaissance in key parts of the country. Geologists have known for years that more oil was present, trapped in source stone within the formations, but developing technology to profitably extract shale oil hasn’t come easy.

      Today, oil production in the United States is surging thanks to advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques. Drillers are not only better understanding the geology of shale formations, but technology necessary to economically drill and produce oil. Increasingly, they’re becoming more efficient. Still, only a small percentage resource is making its way to the surface presently. Undoubtedly, more will continue to be learned in the years ahead, ultimately leading to higher extraction percentage and proven reserves.

      From an energy independence standpoint, the outlook for the United States is certainly promising. In October 2013, for the first time in nearly two decades, the United States produced more oil than it imported. Predictably, while there are those including the current administration attempting to take partial credit, rising output has been the result of drilling on state and private lands. On federal lands, production has actually declined during Pres. Barack Obama’s time in office according to the American Petroleum Institute.

      Despite declines on federal ground, experts still predict that the United States could be fully energy independent by the end of this decade. According the EIA, U.S. oil production will rise to 11.6 million barrels per day in 2020, from 9.2 million in 2012, overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia and becoming the world’s largest oil producer. Over the same period, Saudi Arabia production levels are expected to decline from 11.7 million barrels to 10.6 million. Russia will also product less oil, falling from 10.7 million to 10.4 million barrels per day.

      With a shale revolution and energy renaissance underway in the United States, there’s reason to be optimistic. Achieving energy independence appears to be within our grasp. Still, despite the prospect of becoming an energy independent nation, potential roadblocks loom.

      In May, at the 2014 Williston Basin Petroleum Conference, Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources told convention attendees that “we can’t have any more issues.” He also said “It has to be done in an absolute, safe manner. It’s going to take all of us.” He was referring to recent problems related to Bakken crude including pipeline ruptures and the fiery train derailment near Casselton, North Dakota this past December.

      There’s a lot at stake. Companies like Continental Resources and others, are expected to invest billions in the years ahead to fully develop plays like the Bakken. Drillers are keenly aware that it’s their game to lose. Hamm stressed, “If we have anything, they’re going to shut us down. So many people want to stop fossil fuel use and production.”

      Despite the positive macroeconomic effects rising domestic oil production and decreased imports have on the U.S. economy, job creation and economic growth alone won’t guarantee that shale oil production will continue, unless it is deemed safe and not a threat to public safety during transportation of Bakken crude in particular.

      Volatility levels of Bakken crude and implication on public safety, continues to be heavily debated. The Lac-Megantic, Quebec, rail tragedy, where 47 people lost their lives when a runaway train carrying tanker cars filled with Bakken formation crude, derailed and exploded in the heart of town has been at the center of that debate. The explosions were so intense, that approximately one-half of the downtown area was destroyed.

      Understandably, safely transporting Bakken crude by rail throughout North America, knowing freight rail routes frequently pass through residential areas on their way to final destinations, is a top industry priority. Much of the focus has been and remains on the DOT-111 tank car. On July 23 the U.S. Department of Transportation announced comprehensive proposed rulemaking for the safe transportation of crude oil and flammable materials, with Bakken crude being mentioned – in the form of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and a companion Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM).

      The NPRM language includes “enhanced tank car standards, a classification and testing program for mined gases and liquids and new operational requirements for high-hazard flammable trains that includes braking controls and speed restrictions.” Within two years, it proposes to “phase out of the older DOT-111 tank cars for the shipment of flammable liquids including Bakken crude oil, unless the tank cars are retrofitted to comply with new tank car design standards.” It also seeks “Better classification and characterization of mined gases and liquids.”

      The North Dakota Public Service Commission has set a special hearing for September 23rd, as a part of the discussion on the volatility of Bakken crude and potential oil conditioning requirements necessary to safely transport oil from the Williston Basin. Reducing the light hydrocarbons present in Bakken crude would not only provide greater safety, but the standardization of Bakken crude into a class of oil much like West Texas Intermediate, possibly creating premium pricing opportunities.

      NDPSC involvement and recommendations in addition to oil conditioning include heightened rail inspection efforts at the state level in addition to the Federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration, and emergency response training. Working closely with federal officials and a heightened inspection process, will require additional resources moving forward.

      Expanding pipeline capacity and reducing reliance on rail to transport Bakken crude will continue to be a growing need, playing a role in addressing public safety concerns. The North Dakota pipeline authority anticipates two new pipelines coming online before the end of 2016, with capacity for 545,000 barrels a day. Another third proposed pipeline, capable of handling an additional 200,000 barrels, could potentially be in operation by late 2016 or early 2017.

      With daily production expected to reach 1.5 million barrels in 2017, and 1.7 million barrels in early 2020, diversifying how Bakken crude is moved to market will be necessary not only from a public safety standpoint, but in order to address logistically challenges that continue to surface as production levels increase.

      Extracting domestic oil and gas, moving it to market and properly disposing of or using byproducts created during the production process in a safe and efficient manner will be necessary in order for plays like the Bakken to be fully capitalized on. Those opposed to fossil fuel production will continue to watch and patiently wait for any opportunity to pressure elected officials and sway public opinion.

      Ensuring both public and environmental safety to ensure the future of domestic oil production – will require a cooperative effort on the part of both industry and the state. As Harold Hamm alludes to, it truly is industries game to lose.

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        Big debate in North Dakota: stabilize the oil before shipping?

        Repost from Prairie Business

         Does ND crude need to be stabilized?

        By April Baumgarten, Forum News Service, August 25, 2014 
        image
        A train carrying crude oil tankers travels on the railroad bridge over the Missouri River on Aug. 16 in Bismarck. Dustin Monke/Forum News Service

        DICKINSON, N.D. – What can be done to keep trains from becoming “Bakken bombs?”

        It’s a question on the minds of many North Dakota residents and leaders, so much that some are calling on the state Industrial Commission to require oil companies to use technology to reduce the crude’s volatility. The words are less than kind.

        “Every public official in America who doesn’t want their citizens incinerated will be invited to Bismarck to chew on the commissioners of the NDIC for failing to regulate the industry they regulate,” Ron Schalow of Fargo wrote in a Facebook message.

        A train carrying Bakken crude derailed and exploded July 6, 2013, in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, killing 47 people. Another oil train crashed into a derailed soybean train on Dec. 30 near Casselton, N.D. No one was killed.

        Schalow has started a campaign to require oil companies that drill in North Dakota to use stabilizers, a technology used in Texas to take natural gas liquids off crude to make it safer to ship. His online petition demands the Industrial Commission to force oil companies to remove all explosive natural gas liquids from crude before shipping it by rail. More than 340 people have signed the petition as of Saturday.

        Schalow declined an interview, referring instead to his petition and Facebook page titled “The Bomb Train Buck Stops With North Dakota.”

        Throughout North Dakota, residents have called on the state’s government to prevent future disasters like these, but some leaders say implementing stabilizers could cause more problems.

        “Now you have to pipe from every one of these wells or you have to find a way to get it to this centralized location to be refined,” state Agricultural Commissioner Doug Goehring said. “That creates huge problems in itself.”

        There is a difference between conditioning and stabilization, said Lynn Helms, the state’s Department of Mineral Resources director.

        Oil conditioning is typically done at well sites in North Dakota, he said. The gases are first removed from crude. Then the water and hydrocarbons are removed with a heater treater. The crude oil is then put into a storage tank below atmospheric pressure, which reduces the volatility. Those gases can then be flared or transported to a gas processing plant.

        “If crude oil is properly conditioned at the wellsite, it is stable and safe for transportation,” Helms said.

        Oil that hasn’t been properly conditioned at the wellsite can be stabilized, Helms said, but that would include an industrial system of pipelines and processing plants.

        Valerus, a company based in Houston, manufactures stabilizers for oil companies across the country, including in Texas, West Virginia and Canada. It’s a technology Texas has used at the wellhead for drilling the Eagle Ford shale since the early 2000s, said Bill Bowers, vice president of production equipment at Valerus. Recently, a centralized system with pipelines has been developed to transport the natural gas liquid safely.

        “Most of that stabilization takes place at a centralized facility now,” he said. “There could be 100 wells flowing into one facility.”

        The Railroad Commission of Texas has one rule that Helms has found regarding stabilization, he said. Rule 3.36 of the Texas Oil and Gas Division states operators shall provide safeguards to protect the general public from the harmful effects of hydrogen sulfide. This can include stabilizing liquid hydrocarbons

        .Helms added he could not find any other rule requiring companies to use stabilizers, but the rule had an impact indirectly, Bowers said.

        “I think what was happening is these trucking companies, either for regulation or just safety purposes, would not transport the crude if it was not stabilized,” Bowers said.

        The process is relatively simple, he added.

        “All we are really talking about is heating the crude, getting some of the more volatile compounds to evaporate and leaving the crude less volatile,” Bowers said.

        The Industrial Commission has asked for public input on 10 items that could be used to condition oil. Though stabilization is not directly listed, it could be discussed under “other field operation methods to effectively reduce the light hydrocarbons in crude.”

        The commission will hear testimony on Tuesday, Sept. 23, at the Department of Mineral Resources’ office in Bismarck. Written comment may be submitted before 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22.

        New rules in North Dakota would regulate conditioning at well sites.

        The hearing was brought on by a study from the North Dakota Petroleum Council and discussions held with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz regarding transportation issues.

        Installing equipment at the wellhead for conditioning oil takes several weeks, Helms said. Stabilization, on the other hand, could take more than a year to install equipment – if not longer.

        Helms said he couldn’t comment on the economic process.

        “I do know that a large-scale industrial process would have a big imprint,” Helms said. “It would really exasperate our transportation problems because tens of thousands of barrels of oil would have to be trucked or piped to (a processing plant) and from it.”

        Since there is a centralized system in Texas, companies can make a profit off the natural gas liquids. In North Dakota, companies would have to stabilize at the wellhead before pipelines are put in place.

        “Given their preference, they won’t buy this equipment,” Bowers said. “They really don’t want to do it.”

        There is no pipeline infrastructure to transport natural gas liquids from wellsites, meaning it would have to be trucked or shipped by rail. That could be more dangerous than shipping oil without stabilizing it, Goehring and Helms said.

        “By themselves, they are more volatile and more dangerous than the crude oil with them in it,” Helms said. “The logical thing to do is to properly condition them at the wellsite.”

        The crude could also shrink in volume, along with profits, Bowers said.

        “It seems to me that in the Bakken people are quite happy with the arrangement,” he added. “They don’t believe necessarily that stabilization will change the safety picture.”

        Schalow has criticized the Industrial Commission for not acting sooner, stating officials have had 10 years to address the issue.

        Goehring said he was made aware of the process recently.

        “I don’t believe anybody is withholding information or is aware of anything, nothing diabolical,” Goehring said.

        Officials agreed that the process needs to be dealt with on multiple levels, including oversight on railroad safety. Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak outlined a proposal on Thursday for a state-run rail safety program. If approved, the Public Service Commission would hire three staff members for the program.

        The commission has been working on the proposal since before the Casselton derailment.

        “I share (Schalow’s) concern about having a safe method of transportation, and I think everyone does,” Fedorchak said. “How we get there is the challenge and I think there is a number of different steps. I don’t think there is one solution.”

        Many trains carrying Bakken crude travel through Fargo, where Schalow and Democratic Sen. Tim Mathern live.

        Mathern follows Schalow’s Facebook page and said he did so out of his concern for transporting oil safely.

        “My perspective is that we must preserve and protect our quality of life today and in the future,” Mathern said. “We must be careful that we don’t do kind of a wholesale of colonization of our resources in sending them out. … It’s almost like how do we make sure that we don’t have an industrial waste site as a state?

        “In many of our larger cities, we have a section of town that is kind of an industrial waste site. Eventually, someone has to clean that up. Eventually, that is a cost to society, and I am concerned that we don’t let that happen to North Dakota.”

        Mathern said safely transporting oil is no longer a western North Dakota or even a state issue; it’s a national issue that must be taken seriously because the oil is being transported throughout the country.

        “There is enough responsibility to go around for everybody, including policy makers,” he said. “It’s not just one industry; it’s many industries. It includes the public sector. It includes governors and legislators, and people that are supposed to be attentive to citizens, and to be attentive to the future. We all have responsibility in this.

        “This has worldwide consequences. This is an oil find that even affects the balance of power, even politically.”

        Mathern said he doesn’t know what Schalow’s motivation is, but it isn’t just Schalow raising the questions.

        “I don’t think this is a matter of blaming oil.” Mathern said. “This is a matter of being respectful for our citizens and being a good steward of this resource and a good steward of our future.”

        Public comment

        Residents unable to attend the North Dakota Industrial Commission on oil conditioning practices set for 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 23, in Bismarck may submit written comments to brkadrmas@nd.gov. Comments must be submitted by 5 p.m. CDT on Monday, Sept. 22.
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