Sundhagen noted that there are newer wells in the area drilled into the Bakken formation, and he’s open to having them on his land as the old ones are cleaned up.
“In return, we will work hand in hand with the future producers that come,” he said.
Coons with the landowners association said the group has for years lobbied state officials to strengthen requirements to ensure that well sites are plugged and reclaimed.
“The fact that NDIC had to obtain federal agency funds is the direct result of inadequate planning and is a bright-red warning signal that NDIC needs a different and more aggressive approach going forward,” he said, referring to the acronym for the North Dakota Industrial Commission, a three-member panel chaired by the governor that oversees the Oil and Gas Division.
Bruce Hicks, assistant director of the Oil and Gas Division, responded that the state strengthened bonding rules last year, adding that the state “does have to have a competitive business climate in North Dakota for operators to be here.”
“If we bond everybody out of the state, it is not going to benefit anybody,” he said.
Coons said he knows the state has made progress, but he would still like to see further action.