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ND considering legal action against new federal fracking rules

Dave Thompson
Prairie Public

North Dakota is considering either filing its own lawsuit over the Bureau of Land Management’s new fracking rules – or intervening in an existing lawsuit.

The state’s  top oil regulator says the new federal rules will make it much more difficult for new wells to be fracked.

“We are 12,000 wells into a 60,000 well program here," state Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms told the state Industrial Commission. "Maybe as many as a third of those 40,000 wells are at risk of the BLM denying a hydraulic fracturing permit.”

Helms says many of those wells are on the Fort Berthold Reservation, and would fall under the new rule.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple chairs the state Industrial Commission, which oversees Helms’ department. He says the state needs a plan.

“I’m not sure what is the best path, but we need to take action," said Dalrymple.

Wyoming is also considering legal action.

Helms says he needs a couple of weeks to finish a thorough analysis of the new BLM rules.

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