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Specialists look at proposal for pipeline under Little Missouri National Grassland

The U.S. Forest Service has proposed a special use permit to allow Bear Paw Energy to build a pipeline on National Forest System land. The pipeline would be used to gather and transport natural gas, officials said.

"There are a lot of oil wells around the park," Forest Service project team leader Tina Thornton said.

The pipeline would be built at least 4 feet under the Little Missouri National Grassland about 3 miles north of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and would be about 4,200 feet long. It would connect to a Whiting Schnieder oil well located north of the park.

Bear Paw Energy would use the pipeline to transport gas instead of using trucks, Thorton said, adding it would reduce truck traffic.

Using pipelines are a better form of transportation than trucking oil and gas, North Dakota Pipeline Authority Director Justin Kringstad said, adding pipelines are attractive for safety and economical reasons.

"Pipelines are important in general," he said. "They are the safest, most efficient way to transport gas and oil."

Using pipelines is the only way to capture natural gas, Kringstad said. Without the pipelines, oil rigs would have to flare the natural gas.

"The value of the pipeline is in eliminating the flaring," Kringstad said. "That makes pipelines very attractive. You either have those flares you see in western North Dakota or you have those pipelines to transport it."

The proposals must be approved by the Medora Ranger District before they can be built.

"Much of what you see going on out west in the Badlands is happening on public land," District Ranger Ronald Jablonski Jr. said. "We work with the oil companies that are going to drill on public land to let them know how we expect the surface to be handled."

The Forest Service asks for comments before it approves the permit.

"They wanted to make sure they were looked at and approved by our specialist," Thornton said.

The Forest Service is asking for public comments through Oct. 2. Call 701-227-7809 to submit comments.