Federal government halts drilling at North Dakota well site
August 14, 2017
Bismarck, N.D. (AP) — The federal government has halted the drilling of oil wells near a North Dakota resort boat ramp at the request of the Three Affiliated Tribes.
The well site is separated from the Van Hook Resort boat ramp by a barrier wall, The Bismarck Tribune reported . The site is located about 800 feet (243.84 meters) from Lake Sakakawea.
Tribal Chairman Mark Fox said the tribe appealed the federal permit of the drilling site because it violates tribal setback requirements from the lake. The drilling site falls within the boundaries of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.
Fox said tribal policy requires oil drilling to be at least a half-mile away from the lake. But the tribe does grant variances. The tribe agreed to allow setbacks of 1,000 feet with a variance in order to match federal standards.
"The federal government told us they'd like us to have the same policy, and then what happens, they turn around and grant an exception to their own policy," Fox said.
The Interior Board of Land Appeals is an appellate review body of the U.S. Department of the Interior. It has delayed the project in response to the tribe's appeal last week.
"It's one thing after another and here they are doing it again," Fox said. "So this time, we're putting our foot down."
Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com