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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published January 24 2013

ND leaders hear plan for oil drilling in Killdeer Mountains

BISMARCK — The North Dakota Industrial Commission discussed a drilling plan that affects the Killdeer Mountains for about two hours today but did not make a decision.

Lynn Helms, director of the Department of Mineral Resources, recommended approving a proposal from Hess Corp. to drill up to eight oil wells in a section of land owned by the North Dakota Department of Trust Lands with stipulations that would address concerns from opponents.

Helms recommends approval of the drilling plan with these stipulations:

- Hess will provide seven-day notice to the State Historical Society prior to site construction so an independent archaeologist can be on site during construction.

- Hydraulic fracturing can only occur between June 1 and Aug. 15 to minimize truck traffic on a school bus route.

- The east pad location, which contained a known historical artifact, will be constructed with fill only, so no topsoil will be disturbed.

About 50 people attended the meeting, including neighboring landowners, American Indians, archaeologists, a biologist and others who want to preserve the area.

The commission, which consists of Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, allowed members from the public to speak even though the meeting was not a hearing.

Check back for more on this story.