Posted 8/15/17 (Tue)
By Jack Dura
Farmer Staff Writer
For the first time in 10 years, the reformed Little Missouri River Commission met and discussed issues affecting North Dakota’s only state scenic river.
High on the agenda was industrial use of the river, prohibited by the Little Missouri State Scenic River Act of 1975. However, the State Engineer’s Office issued 600 temporary industrial use permits from 1990 to 2017 in violation of the law. In June, the state water commission voted 7-1 in favor of temporary, year-round industrial use permits for the river.
David Crighton, McKenzie County’s representative on the commission, said the Aug. 9 meeting in Dickinson was introductory in nature, without a chairman elected as yet. State engineer Garland Erbele is interim chairman.
Crighton, a third-generation rancher along the river west of Grassy Butte, said more discussion will come on industrial use of the Little Missouri’s waters.
“They brought it up and informed us about it,” he said.
Crighton said he has mixed feelings on use of the river. Remote frack sites need water but oilfield traffic is tough on remote roads, he said. Plus, there are farmers with permits to irrigate from the river, he added.
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