The proposal from Williston-based IHD Environmental has underscored differences in the two states’ regulation of drilling waste disposal. In 2016, North Dakota enacted new rules for disposing of waste with radioactivity levels of 50 picocuries per gram or less — which are classified by U.S. EPA as low risk for nearby residents — after officials counted as many as 150 illegal dump sites in their state in 2014.
Since those new rules came into effect, companies have turned to Montana. Officials there are still working on a draft set of similar rules.
“Until Montana develops standards and protections, we’re going to continue to be North Dakota’s dumping ground,” said Seth Newton, a rancher who lives near one of Montana’s four such landfills and a member of environmentalist lobby group Northern Plains Resource Council (Matt Hudson, Billings Gazette, Jan. 5)