After discovering that the public, legislature, and governor were all kept in the dark for more than a week about a major oil spill on a North Dakota wheat farm, lawmakers wanted answers on Monday. But the state department that kept news of the 20,600-barrel spill to itself had more spin than answers. (The feds also withheld the information because they were being furloughed.)
David Glatt, head of the environmental section of the North Dakota Health Department, defended his department's secrecy during the Energy Development and Transmission Committee hearing. He said the 11-day delay in notifying the public about the spill was a proper response, adding that the spill happened in the "best place it could've occurred."
But by Tuesday, following a closed-door meeting between the governor's staff and different state departments, some officials were sounding more contrite. From the Bismarck Tribune:
North Dakota’s Oil and Gas Division director Lynn Helms said the department’s stance is that the Tesoro Corp. pipeline was a rural pipeline under federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration jurisdiction. ...
The state doesn’t have any laws requiring public notification of spills.