Big Oil Wants North Dakota to Ease Radioactive Waste Laws

Sunday, February 1, 2015
By Paul Martin
January 31, 2015

Amid falling oil prices nationwide, energy industry players in North Dakota want officials to alter radioactive waste disposal laws so that more toxic fracking fluid can be stored in-state, saving companies tens of thousands of dollars per truckload.

Radioactive waste from the energy industry is currently sent outside North Dakota, due to rules that bar state landfills from accepting more than a minor amount of radiation.

The state’s hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, boom in the Bakken shale region is believed to have produced between 27 and 70 tons of radioactive waste per day in 2014, Reuters reported, though the state is set to release its first annual report on the issue next month.

“Currently we have a very, very low threshold for radioactive material that can be disposed in the state,” Rob Port, editor of, told RT.

“What they’re aiming to do is actually raise that level so that a lot of the low-grade, what’s called naturally-occurring radioactive material, or NORM, produced in the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota can be disposed of in-state instead of being shipped out-of-state.”

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