[author: Dante Tomassoni]
Sporting and Oil Industry Forum, comprising representatives from conservation groups and the oil industry, developed the guidelines.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has announced the release of recommended management practices for reducing the impact of oil and gas drilling on the region's wildlife.
In announcing the new recommended practices, the Department stated: "These recommendations are considered to be contemporary 'best management practices' based on the latest advances in technology and methodology for oil and gas exploration, extraction, production and delivery."
The guidelines are the product of the Sporting and Oil Industry Forum, a working group that includes both conservation and oil and gas industry representatives such as Ducks Unlimited, the Badlands Conservation Alliance, the North Dakota Petroleum Council and other organizations.
While the recommendations are voluntary and not designed to supplant existing federal and state laws that govern wildlife conservation, the oil and gas industry is encouraged to follow them.
The recommendations include locating well pads, facilities and roads in clustered configurations within the least sensitive habitats, drilling multiple wells from the same pad where feasible, and siting wells off of existing roads. The hope is that operators can coordinate road construction and use among different companies operating in the same oil and gas field. The list of recommendations is extensive and can be found here.