Goehring’s proposal helps landowners in pipeline reclamation
October 17, 2014
North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has proposed a Pipeline Reclamation Inspection Program. With increasing energy production, this program will ensure that the long-term productivity of the land is being considered and addressed.
"The Department of Agriculture has received calls from farmers and ranchers who have told us that they need assistance with follow up and follow through in dealing with pipeline companies," Goehring said. "With more than 20,000 miles of pipeline already crossing North Dakota and thousands more miles to be added in coming years, it is very likely such issues will always exist."
Speaking at a news conference Thursday in Bismarck, Goehring was joined by state legislators, Sen. Jessica Unruh and Sen. Kelly Armstrong, who support the idea.
Under Goehring's plan, a landowner who is dissatisfied by the response of a pipeline owner/operator in dealing with reclamation of their property can contact the North Dakota Department of Agriculture for assistance. The caller would supply required information, such as location, name of pipeline operator, date the work was done and the nature and manner in which their land has not been reclaimed properly.
"The report would be forwarded to a field inspector who would conduct an on-site meeting with the landowner to assess the situation," Goehring said. "The inspector would then prepare a written report, contact the pipeline company detailing the findings and proposed action for resolving the issues."
The report would be provided to the pipeline owner/operator outlining an acceptable timeline for corrective measures agreed upon by both the landowner and the company. The inspector would follow-up to ensure the work is finished in a satisfactory and timely manner.
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"In cases where a pipeline operator and landowner cannot agree on a plan of action, the case could be taken to the North Dakota Mediation Service," Goehring said. "Many of these cases I have dealt with personally are the result of misunderstanding or miscommunication. If these issues are not worked out, mediation could help resolve many of them."
Goehring said the proposed legislation also includes funding for North Dakota State University to conduct research into alterative solutions for reclaiming land affected by pipeline construction.
–N.D. Dept. of Agriculture