North Dakota pursues $950,000 fine against trucking company

By Land Line staff | 4/21/2016

A trucking company that has been fined nearly $1 million in connection with an illegal dumping incident is expected to appeal the matter to district court.

Regulatory officials with the North Dakota Industrial Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday, April 20, to pursue a $950,000 fine against Black Hills Trucking Company, a Wyoming carrier accused of violating multiple environmental sections of the state code.

According to a report in the Bismarck Tribune, the state agency is pursuing the fines despite recommendations from an administrative law judge that jurisdiction over the matter actually belongs with the state’s health department. The state health department previously reached a settlement that required the company to pay $200,000 in fines with another $259,000 suspended.

According to a previous release issued by the state’s Department of Mineral Resources, Black Hills Trucking Inc. is accused of violating multiple environmental sections of the state code by allowing saltwater oil drilling waste to flow directly onto the ground, by improperly disposing of the fluid, and by failing to have a proper license to haul waste. The incidents are alleged to have occurred in February and March 2014.

In addition, the state attorney general charged company driver Leo Slemin, with one class C felony for illegally dumping saltwater. Slemin later pleaded guilty to violating the commission’s rules and was fined $3,000 with a suspended jail sentence.

According to the investigative report, on Feb. 14, 2014, an inspector with the DMR witnessed Slemin driving a semi-truck along a stretch of road in southwest Williams County with valves on the underside of the truck open, allowing saltwater to flow directly onto the ground. The alleged incident occurred in an area where numerous reports of illegal dumping have been received – a gravel road in rural Williams County between a drilling site and a well designed to hold the saltwater waste.

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