Compromise will keep oil well away from the Elkhorn Ranch

Oct 23, 2013

An oil well that could have been drilled within 300 feet of the historic Elkhorn Ranch site will instead be drilled from a well pad more than two miles away.

The original plan would have been within feet of the boundary of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Instead, XTO Energy will use an existing pad on private land.

The state Industrial Commission approved that plan. Lynn Helms is the state’s mineral resources director. He told the Commission the Badlands Conservation Alliance had asked for a moratorium on drilling near the Elkhorn Ranch site.

"But leases expire in March," said Helms.  "XTO needs to move forward on this."

Helms says the company and regulators came up with a great solution.

"They have fashioned a really fantastic 'win, win, win, win, win' out of this thing," said Helms.

Helms says the drilling pad is also two miles away from the Maah Daah Hey Trail.

Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms briefing the Industrial Commission on XTO Energy's plans to avoid drilling near the Elkhorn Ranch.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public