Open Forum on Energy Waste in Bismarck - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Open Forum on Energy Waste in Bismarck

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The North Dakota Energy Industry Waste Coalition met with the State Health Department over concerns on how energy waste is tracked if rejected from landfills for being more than five picocuries per gram of radioactivity: the state's current legal limit.

The coalition shared photos and stories of dumped waste, and toxic filter socks with serial numbers scratched off. David Glatt, Chief of the Environmental Health Section says there's been a record number of prosecutions against illegal dumping, but there aren't enough resources to monitor every truck and hold them accountable.

But, before the State can go through the process of changing any regulations, they need to prove the science of safe levels of NORM, or naturally occurring radioactive material.


"We got a standard here for NORM waste, that's the lowest in the nation," explains David Glatt, Chief of the State Health Department's Environmental Health Section. "There are other states that have numbers that are 50, 400 and I think Idaho maybe above one thousand picocuries per gram. Why is that?"

The Health department aims to finish that study by the end of this year. It's funded by the Petroleum council, but that raised questions of conflict of interest.


"We will be proposing what the study is going to look like, it's not the petroleum council. They're going to write the check, but we're going to say how that money is going to be spent," said Glatt.

"We can avoid conflicts of interest," says Dr. Anne Marguerite Coyle of the Energy Industry Waste Coalition. "We can make sure expertise from non-industry coupled with non-industry can come together and determine the science."

The two entities hope this type of open dialogue will ensure the future welfare of North Dakotans when the boom ends.

"We want to work with the North Dakota Health Department," explains Darrell Dorgan, Founder of the Energy Industry Waste Coalition. "We want decisions made in a hydrology, geology, the impact on health, history and lives of those who live here."

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