Landowners frustrated by long wait for well site to be restored

“We’re sick of the mess,” stated Laura Griffin, who lives southwest of Dickinson.

Properly operators Jason Halek and Nathan Garber have been sentenced final week in federal courtroom for violating environmental legal guidelines whereas working a saltwater disposal nicely in late 2011 and early 2012.

Landowners Laura and Robert “Bud” Griffin are annoyed that the nicely, tanks and different gear have remained on website greater than 5 years after regulators put chains and padlocks on the wellhead gear.

“We would like the location cleaned up and put again to its unique state, and the state is not implementing it,” Laura Griffin stated.

Division of Mineral Assets Director Lynn Helms stated the Environmental Safety Company has info from its investigation which may have an effect on how state regulators plug the deserted properly. Helms stated his company has requested the knowledge from the EPA however has not acquired it.

Along with the wellhead, the gear that is still on website features a signal figuring out the Halek 5-22 saltwater disposal nicely, a trailer the place crews labored and saltwater storage tanks. A barrel of flammable chemical compounds labeled paraffin inhibitor stays on website inside a berm that surrounds the tanks. One piece of kit has been knocked over, probably by cattle that graze there in the summertime.

“We would like it gone,” Griffin stated.

The Griffins’ lawyer despatched a letter to the state Oil and Fuel Division in September of 2016 that requested the company’s help and supervision on the abandonment and reclaiming of the nicely website. Griffin stated her lawyer by no means acquired a response from the state.

Division of Mineral Assets spokeswoman Alison Ritter stated state statutes require the company to revive the floor of the location on the similar time they plug the nicely. The one exception is that if there is a danger of air pollution or menace to human well being and security, which Ritter stated that website doesn’t pose.

“Till all the things is wrapped up, we will not begin the entire course of,” Ritter stated.

An inspector from the Oil and Fuel Division visits the location about as soon as a month on common, in response to a log of area notes from state inspectors.

State regulators don’t plan to start any reclamation work till after a federal decide holds a restitution listening to, which is scheduled for Feb. sixteen in U.S. District Courtroom in Bismarck.

Courtroom data present it is going to value an estimated $one hundred thirty five,000 to plug the nicely and restore the location. Prosecutors have indicated in courtroom data they’re requesting $one hundred fifteen,000 in restitution from Halek and Garber…

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