North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum recently signed legislation to create the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (NDDEQ). Currently, environmental regulatory authority over oil and gas is split between the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDH) and the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC). The bill splits the Environmental Health Section from the NDDH to create a standalone DEQ, but does not create new programs or eliminate any existing programs.
"This new agency maintains existing staffing and program levels while giving our environmental team the autonomy it needs to be more efficient, flexible and better able to implement federal regulations."
The DEQ will be overseen by a 13-member advisory board, which will consist of the state engineer, state geologist, director of the Game and Fish Department, and ten members appointed by the governor, including three positions reserved for representatives from agriculture. The agencies have until July 1, 2019, to obtain the approvals and amend agreements in order to maintain existing primacy over federal and state environmental regulations.