MANDAREE An energy company and a tribal task force have partnered to take on dust control on roads in the Mandaree area.
With the increased truck traffic on the roads in this area, dust is a major issue. Mandaree is a hotspot for oil development on the Fort Berthold Reservation.
According to a news release from the Three Affiliated Tribes:
Enerplus, a company with an office in the Mandaree area, and the Three Affiliated Tribes' Road Task Force are coming up with solutions to control the dust and looking at the cost of it.
Shane Henry, government and regulatory affairs for Enerplus, said dust treatment was applied to Bureau of Indian Affairs Route 30. That road is southwest of Mandaree.
Josh Ruffo, environmental coordinator for Enerplus, said calcium chloride, an approved dust control directed to them by the BIA Regional Office, was put on Route 30. Calcium chloride will last up to two or three months once it's laid down on the road. It can be prolonged by occasionally putting water on it while weather permits. Once spring is here, Ruffo said they will revisit the road.
"This is really a part of a priority for Enerplus to address the dust control issues on the Fort Berthold Reservation. Route 30 is one of the several that we are prioritizing on with other operators to tackle this issue," Henry said.
"Here at Enerplus we are aware that this is a key issue with landowners, it's a safety issue for our drivers and for our contractors," Henry added.
Earl McKay, operations superintendent for Enerplus, said, "We did see a need for dust control and spoke with our upper management and made a commitment for some money to put into BIA 30. We also have commitments for other things that we are working on and also the partnership with everybody to take care of the dust issue."
"We will continue to do the right thing and be the responsible operators. We are here for the long haul and we want to do good business here," he added.
Henry said BIA Route 17, a road south of Mandaree, is definitely on the priority list from an industry standpoint.
He said it's not a talking point of the company when they say they care about the landowner and the safety of their employees. "We go beyond that. We put the action out there more than words and that's what everyone sees now."
"With BIA Road 30, it's an action, not talk, and that's putting a company ethic to work. This is really important and I know we're all proud to work for a company that does just that. BIA 14 will go into a bigger discussion with other operators and the Three Affiliated Tribes. More operators are using that road," Henry said.
With tribal chairman Tex Hall's leadership and the tribal business council, they are working together on the Adopt the Road Program, "which is what we are buying into literally," Henry said.
Enerplus is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. Its U.S. office is based in Denver and its field office is headquartered in the Bear Den office, which is located right off Route 30 near the MHA Tribal Ranch, southwest of Mandaree.
Enerplus has been on the Fort Berthold Reservation since 2009 and began drilling the following year.