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BLM to host forum on flaring: BLM set to give updates on practice

The Bureau of Land Management will host a fact-finding forum on flaring today in Dickinson.

BLM hopes to inform its possible updating of a decades-old “notice” on flaring, spokeswoman Beverly Winston said. The bureau will consider existing federal, tribal and state rules, she said, including discussing EPA regulation and any possible duplication.

Local BLM representatives will be on-hand, plus BLM Deputy Director Linda Lance and Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary Mike Connor.

BLM regulates drilling on federal lands and on the Fort Berthold Reservation, where nearly 30 percent of North Dakota’s oil production takes place.

If BLM adopts restrictive rules on flaring, it would have a significant impact on the Bakken, Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms said in a recent monthly update to reporters.

“Anything the BLM does in terms of regulations is going to have significant impact on North Dakota,” Helms said.

In a statement on the proposed rules, the North Dakota Industrial Commission listed efforts it has made on a state level to reduce flaring, like requiring Gas Capture Plans for future drilling permit applications.

In a press release, the Dakota Resource Council announced its members will testify in favor of comprehensive upstream and midstream planning to maximize gas capture.

About 80 people attended the same forum in Albuquerque, N.M., on Wednesday, Winston said.

Another forum is planned for Thursday in Washington, D.C..

Winston said regardless of the current energy boom, BLM would still update the notice, which dates back to 1980.

“I think it’s a matter of just bringing our regulations up to date,” she said.

“A decision hasn’t been made to write a new rule,” she said, “... we’re out doing outreach just to do some fact-finding.”

Friday’s forum will include comments from the BLM and Department of Interner representatives and a more technical powerpoint presentation on flaring and proposals.

The forum will be held 1-4 p.m. today at the Ramada Grand Dakota Hotel.

Forum News Service reporter Amy Dalrymple contributed to this report.