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Energy bill dealing with underground cavities becomes law

April 19, 2019 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Gov. Doug Burgum has signed a complex energy bill dealing with empty pockets in underground rock formations, though property rights advocates are likely to keep fighting.

The cavities or voids are known as “pore space.” They belong to the surface owner, not the mineral owner.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that certain landowners will no longer get compensated for the injection of oilfield wastewater into their pore spaces. Landowners also are barred from making claims that oilfield wastewater injected into a disposal well on adjacent land is migrating into their pore space.

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Burgum says the bill clarifies legal issues related to underground injection, which should boost the state’s energy industry.

Opponents say it’s an unconstitutional taking of private property rights and that it will lead to lawsuits or a referral to voters.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com