State Water Commission Complains Corps of Engineer Acting Like it Owns Water in Area
An official of the State Water Commission in North Dakota complained that the Corps of engineers is acting like it owned the waters in Lake Sakakawea.
Robert Shaver yesterday told the members of the commission that the Corps thinks it has authority over access to water in the reservoir.
Shaver’s comments came as he reported the latest water usage numbers concerning the oil industry in the state.
He said that the tens of millions of gallons required each day in the oil patch correspond to a fraction of a percent of the amount of water that the state claims legal rights to.
He also said that the state has a legal right to the regular flow of water in the Missouri River, despite the presence of reservoirs along the river.
Shaver, in his report, said, “The state engineer can grant permit applications from the Missouri quickly and in a timely manner, generally within 90 days. However since the summer of 2010 the US Army Corps of Engineers has prevented access to the Missouri River pending a decision regarding levying surplus storage fees for municipal and industrial withdrawls from the Missouri River and Lake Sakakawea.”
Officials in North Dakota, including the state’s governor, have already voiced their objections to the proposal of the Corps to charge municipal water systems and industrial users a fee for getting water from Lakakawea.
In an attempt to keep water flowing for the oil industry, Todd Sando, the State Water Commissioner, has been issuing documents allowing irrigation permits to be converted to industrial water sales, and has also allowed the utilization of surface water in the oil industry.