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Bob Gnirk, Sterling, N.D., Published May 04 2014

Letter: Oil industry backs new regulations

April 1 came and passed without a lot of fanfare about new regulations for North Dakota’s pipelines that transport oil and gas from the well pad to interstate pipelines and processing facilities.

The new rules are important and a sign that the industry is taking responsible steps to protect the outdoors, farms and water supplies for decades to come. Impressively, the rules were promoted from the oil and gas industry themselves.

These rules put into place greater measures to protect the integrity of the pipeline and prevent accidents caused by others that damage the lines. The rules provide better documentation of where lines are located, how they were designed and tested, and the materials transported by the lines.

Now, gathering lines will be mapped by global positioning systems with the data available to regulators. They will be installed to higher standards and will be detectable with locating equipment above ground, no matter the material makeup of the pipeline.

That the oil and gas industry is taking responsible, reasonable measures to ensure the integrity of these small pipelines is pleasing to me as a pipeline engineer and member of the industry. Too often we only hear knee-jerk reactions while 99.9 percent of the industry’s efforts are spent protecting the integrity of its systems and providing energy to society.