Companies cited for environmental incidents

NEW TOWN The Three Affiliated Tribes’ Energy Department has issued a total of $80,000 in environmental citations in recent weeks to three oil-field-related companies working on the Fort Berthold Reservation.

The most recent citation was for $25,000 to JNS Logistics of Culbertson, Mont., for illegal dumping on private land at a site called the Sage Pond in the Mandaree area. The incident occurred on Jan. 30 and the citation was issued this week.

Carson Hood Jr., interim administrator of the tribal Energy Department, said oil-field companies are policing each other to prevent problems. When the Sage Pond incident occurred, he said the driver of another company working on the reservation noticed a truck backed up to the pond just off BIA Road 10 in the Mandaree area and the truck was dumping a substance into the pond. The other company’s driver drove his truck up to the pond and blocked the road, preventing the truck doing the dumping from leaving the area and waited there until tribal officials could reach the area.

Although it was determined later that the truck was emptying fresh water into the pond, Hood said the manner in which the water was improperly discharged was illegal, according to the tribal Environmental Enforcement Codes.

The Three Affiliated Tribes’ business council passed the Environmental Enforcement Codes in 2011.

Earlier, a $50,000 citation for illegal dumping was issued by the tribal Energy Department to Kuhl Trucking of Irwin, Iowa, for an incident, also in the Mandaree area. In that incident, which occurred Nov. 20, 2012, production wastewater was dumped. The incident occurred on private property on a lease road en route to a well pad.

Slawson Exploration Co., based in Denver, also was issued a citation for $5,000 for a well blowout that occurred near Van Hook in mid-December 2012.

Hood said the citation was not for illegal dumping, but the blowout occurred because of mechanical failure. The blowout caused oil, gas and formation water to spew out and covered fields. The site is about half a mile north of Lake Sakakawea.

Slawson has completed the spill cleanup, Hood said.

He said a couple smaller citations have been issued to companies during the past summer. He said those citations for spills were for between $200 and $500.

Hood said the Three Affiliated Tribes’ Energy Department is actively pursuing full enforcement of the tribes’ Environmental Enforcement Codes. “This is unacceptable and will not be tolerated, and we will prosecute to the full extent of the law,” he said.

Hundreds of companies are working in the oil field on the Fort Berthold Reservation in many types of work, ranging from pipeline to drilling companies.