Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has appointed a third commissioner to the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (NOGCC).
The appointment will allow the commission to vote on an application for a fracking wastewater injection well in Sioux County at a public hearing to be held in Sidney on March 24 at 10 a.m.
John Rundel, from Trenton, Nebraska, was appointed on March 13 by Gov. Ricketts.
Rundel Geological Service, of which Rundel is a known partner, provides oil and gas extraction products and service to the region around Trenton.
Rundel’s application lists his occupation as petroleum geologist, with “36 years of experience in the oil and gas business throughout Rocky Mountain region. Practiced geology in Nebraska since 1982. I have experience in all areas of the oil and gas business.”
The appointment will expire on Sept. 28, 2015.
Rundel has also served as the chairman of the board of trustees for the village of Trenton.
The hearing had been postponed previously because the commission only had two of the needed three commissioners.
The proposal for a fracking wastewater injection well in Sioux County has been a subject of controversy, with ongoing public meetings and community concern.
One of the commissioners, Tom Oliver, said the hearing will be conducted similar to a court of law, where only the interested parties are allowed to present evidence. According to the law, those parties must own property within a half mile of the disposal well.
“It’s not just a public meeting where people can get up and give comments,” Oliver said. “It’s a legal hearing that has proper procedures.”
Those interested parties can spend as much time as they want presenting evidence, Oliver said. The three commissioners will make a determination.
“If we’re wrong they can make an appeal,” Oliver said.
Oliver said he has experience on both sides of the fence. He worked as an attorney for Chevron in Denver and Houston before moving back to Bridgeport to open a private practice in 1999. He said he’s since represented a lot landowners with oil and gas leases.
“I certainly have an understanding and a desire to protect the environment,” he said. “Having grown up in the area, I have an appreciation for the beauty of the area.”