Letter: Owners lose rights,Little Missouri State Park loses protection
As stated by Lynn Helms, more than 30,000 acres was put into a large unit under the control of Burlington Resources.
The proposal was to protect wild lands and keep Little Missouri State Park safe from development. I feel protection could have been done with a unit of less than 5,000 acres and with this large unit, the Industrial Commission has given Burlington Resources a financial advantage.
The IC took away rights of landowners in the unit to protect their property. Spacing allows landowners some control over development that is not producing oil on their 1,280-acre unit. Landowners in the unit must allow any road, pipeline, well site, or tank battery etc., for development anywhere in the 30,000 acres. The western edge of the unit is six miles from the park. Do you believe allowing Burlington Resources special privileges that far from the park has anything to do with protection?
As stated in the proposal and at hearings, Burlington can build a continuous road across private property from one end of the unit to the other which, if not wanted by landowners, could have been prevented prior to the unit. It allows BR to ignore previous spacing rules and section line setback rules and place their sites anywhere on the unit allowing them to produce more oil with fewer restrictions.
Could the real reason behind the size of the unit be money, as Burlington can drill freely and have cheaper, more convenient access? It acquired 60 percent mineral owner signatures to propose the unit without having to even contact surface owners, but since the company owns 47 percent of the rights, private mineral owners can never dissolve the unit.
At the IC hearing, Gov. Jack Dalrymple asked if this was considered a “take” situation. Helms stated BR must negotiate damage settlements, but if agreements are not reached, BR can develop what it wants anyway. Even knowing this, the IC voted to approve the unit.
This unit puts money in the pockets of Burlington Resources and the state.
We, third and fourth generation ranchers, lost our rights to protect land we paid to protect and conserve for years. We love the park and want to keep it pristine but this went overboard.
Enjoy your visit but please appreciate what people gave up as you see the development on the way to the park.
Candyce Kleemann, Killdeer