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Frack water and oil storage tanks

A sea of fracking water and oil storage tanks glisten in the sun near Watford City, N.D.

BISMARCK, N.D. — The state of North Dakota may sue the federal government over its new rules regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal lands in the state.

The rules, the federal government’s first regulation of fracking, are unnecessary or inapplicable to North Dakota’s geology and are duplicative of existing state rules, Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms told the North Dakota Industrial Commission on Tuesday. The Independent Petroleum Association of America and the Western Energy Alliance already have filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in federal court in the district of Wyoming.

The rules, in slowing down permitting, could “very negatively” affect oil production in the Bakken, where 32 percent of multi-well pads drill on federal land, mostly in the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, Helms said.

He said after the meeting that the state’s own lawsuit would be the best course of action because it would be “more North Dakota-centric.”

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The rules go into effect June 1, leaving the state little time to act.

The NDIC members -- Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, voted to have Stenehjem’s office look at all the legal options for fighting the new rules.

“We need to take action,” Dalrymple said.

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