Meeting set in White Shield on solid waste disposal pit plan

WHITE SHIELD – A community meeting has been scheduled for tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the Ralph Wells Memorial Complex in White Shield on a proposed solid waste disposal pit for drill cuttings from the oil field to be constructed in the White Shield area. The meeting is open to anyone interested.

The facility is being planned for a site about 15 miles west of the White Shield community and off N.D. Highway 1804. The site is located on a hill about 1 1/2 miles east of Lake Sakakawea.

Edmund Baker, director of Three Affiliated Tribes’ Environmental Division, said this is the first leg of the project. He said the tribal Natural Resources Committee approved the project proposal at a January meeting. Marvin Danks is project coordinator.

Baker said the site is on tribal land.

He said there has been some public confusion as to the visible construction being done at the site and there have been several calls to his office about the site. He said ordinarily construction would have started after receipt of a permit application and approval. The permit application would have provided information to the public. However, construction began prior to receipt of a permit application.

Preparation at the site began about a month ago after receiving approval from state officials for an easement or an approach off N.D. Highway 1804.

However, on Monday the Natural Resources Committee ordered that Danks stop the construction pending permit application reviewal.

An environmental assessment of the project is pending.

Jodie White, a White Shield community member, said no prior notice was given to White Shield people about the project. “People began to notice a large area being constructed on a hill,” she said.

She said there is a deep coulee adjacent to the hill where the construction is being done. That coulee or tributary runs directly into Arikara Bay, on Lake Sakakawea, she said.

According to the tribal Environmental Division, the proposed facility will accept drill cuttings from oil wells. A 3.1 inch liner with clay impaction will provide the barrier between fluid and the mineral surface, under a closed pit structure.

Baker said this is the second solid waste facility of this type on Fort Berthold Reservation. The first one is in the Mandaree area and is going into its second phase.

The tribal Environmental Division is taking documented comments on the project from Fort Berthold citizens until May 8. If no comments are received by the office, the permit will be issued, pending approval of additional criteria under tribal Code.

Comments can be mailed, emailed or faxed to: Edmund Baker, Environmental Division, director, Three Affiliated Tribes Administration Building, 404 Frontage Road, New Town, ND 58763. His email is and the fax number is 627-2917.