State’s pore spacing law ruled unconstitutional
By Neal A. Shipman
In what is being heralded as a major win for North Dakota landowners and mineral owners, a Northeast District judge has ruled that the North Dakota Legislature violated the constitution in passing Senate Bill 2344 during the 2019 legislative session.
The court case, which was brought by the Northwest Landowners Association (NWLA), dealt with who owned the pore space below the surface of the ground. Under Senate Bill 2344, which took effect in August of 2019, the state claimed ownership of the pore space, which could be used to store injected saltwater from the oil and gas industry.
But in his ruling, Judge Anthony Benson stated that the legislation was an unconstitutional taking of private property and that the pore space had value.