BISMARCK, N.D. — A Wyoming-based company that illegally dumped oilfield waste in western North Dakota has paid the state more than $950,000 after the state Supreme Court affirmed the fine last month.
Black Hills Trucking paid $951,526 to the North Dakota Industrial Commission last week, Department of Mineral Resources spokeswoman Alison Ritter told The Bismarck Tribune . It’s the largest fine ever collected by the regulatory group.
The company earlier unsuccessfully appealed the fine to the North Dakota Supreme Court, arguing it had already paid a $200,000 fine to the state Health Department for the same incident. Justices ruled the Industrial Commission acted within the law.
The company was accused of illegally dumping saltwater on a gravel road near Tioga in the spring of 2014. Saltwater is a waste byproduct of oil production and must be disposed of under state rules that aim to prevent environmental damage.
Nearly all of the Industrial Commission fine will go into a state fund that’s used to restore abandoned oil well sites.
The Industrial Commission has issued larger fines to other companies for oil and gas violations, but it has not collected those fines. For example, the state agency fined Halek Operating $1.5 million for violations related to a saltwater disposal well near Dickinson, but has been able to collect only $140,000 in bond money from the company that is now dissolved.
Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com