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Pilot program may help landowners with reclamation

Golden Valley News of Beach, North Dakota

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BISMARCK - Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has announced plans for a pipeline restoration and reclamation oversight pilot program after a new law was signed by Gov. Jack Dalrymple on April 13.

The program will provide assistance and support to landowners and tenants on pipeline reclamation and restoration issues, as well as educational outreach.

"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 working 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 continue to exist."

Goehring said that up to this point there has been no designated agency or entity to work with landowners and tenants to resolve pipeline issues with reclaiming the land and to provide educational outreach about reclamation.

"I am thankful for the hard work of the legislators, the Northwest Landowners Association and the North Dakota Petroleum Council," Gflehring said. "These groups recognized the issue and worked together to address it through legislative action."

Under the new law, a landowner or tenant who is dissatisfied by uV > sponse of a pipeline owner/optor in dealing with reclamation of their property can contact the North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) for assistance.

An independent ombudsman will then conduct an on-site examination with the landowner or tenant to assess the situation," Goehring said, "the ombudsman will prepare a written report, contact the pipeline company detailing the findings and work with all parties to resolve the issues in a satisfactory and timely manner."

The program will also provide educational outreach to help landowners consider things such as pfpeline pathways, type of pipeline installation, soil impacts, type of vegetation being reestablished, -timelines and other issues before signing agreements.

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Original Publication Date: April 23, 2015

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