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Published January 27 2011

North Dakota House supports oil fracking

BISMARCK – The North Dakota House gave unanimous support Wednesday to the state’s oil industry and its use of hydraulic fracturing.

House Bill 1216 states hydraulic fracturing is an acceptable recovery process in North Dakota.

Rep. Jim Kasper, R-Fargo, referred to the bill as “one of the most important bills this Legislature will consider this session.”

If also approved by the Senate, the bill would mean the state could intervene if the Environmental Protection Agency or another federal agency attempts to impose regulations on fracking, he said.

“We all realize the important economic activity and job creation that the oil industry and gas industry plays in North Dakota,” Kasper said.

About 95 percent of the wells drilled in North Dakota now use hydraulic fracturing. This is the process of creating fractures in shale rock formations through the high-pressure injection of fluids deep underground, allowing more oil and gas to flow out of the formation.

Rep. Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks, said he had no problem with the bill’s wording, but wondered what happens in the future if North Dakota determines there is a problem with fracking.

Kasper said the bill does not affected the state’s ability to regulate hydraulic fracturing. The bill passed 92-0.

Flu shots

Also Wednesday, the Senate approved a bill that supporters say will improve access to vaccinations and immunizations.

Senate Bill 2035 would lower the age for those allowed to get shots from pharmacists.

North Dakotans must now be 18.

The bill aims to lower the age to 11 for immunizations and vaccinations. Residents as young as 5 would be able to get flu shots or mists from pharmacists.

“It’s important that we continue to find ways to expand the number of people in our society that are vaccinated (and) immunized,” said Sen. Dick Dever, R-Bismarck.

The Senate approved the bill on a 44-2 vote.

Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.