Crew camps in Williston back in the news

September 2015 photo of remote man camp by James Ulvog
September 2015 photo of remote man camp by James Ulvog

The city decided to approve a new set of rules to shut down all the crew camps. The operators are fighting back. Lots of news in the last few weeks with the September 1 deadline having arrived. Mayor proves in his public comments that he is engaged in protectionism, favoring two classes of housing providers over one other.

8/23 – Williston Herald – Commission is unanimous: Crew camps end Sept. 1 With the second reading, the law becomes official that crew camps within the reach of the Williston Commission must close by September 1, the buildings removed by May 2018, with the land reclaimed by August 2018.

8/29 – Williston Herald at Dickinson Press – Williston crew camp court fight to continue – Three companies that own crew camps will continue to fight in federal court.

Target Logistics says they have offered several compromise ideas to the city Commissioners, none of which have been revealed in detail.

As an indication of why the companies think they should be allowed to remain open to benefit from any drilling rebound, consider that the article says Target spent $3M on a waste treatment plant for their Tioga operation. They invested a total of $20M at their Bear Paw facility, which is one of three they own.

9/1 – AP at – Company vows to continue crew camp battle in Williston – Article cites attorney for Target Logistics saying the city is engaged in protectionism, picking economic winners and losers.

Mayor denies the those charges and immediately proves the charges true by saying he wants all oil field workers living in permanent housing, either hotels or apartments.

Unidentified oil company officials say they need crew camps for their rotational workers, who are only in one place for short and indeterminate durations. The concerns are hotels don’t serve food and apartments require long-term leases.

9/2 – AP at Bismarck Tribune – Williston crew camps still fighting shutdown deadline – Operators of one crew camp, who already has a federal injunction against the previous regulations shutting them down, filed a petition in federal court asking for a stay of the new rules shutting them down.

9/1  – Williston Herald at Bismarck Tribune – Crew camp operator seeks new injunction against Williston – Article provides detail on the filing in federal court.

Target Logistics calls the new regs a near duplicate of the previous rules for which there is already an injunction. Main difference between the two laws is the new rules make it even more blatant that the city is favoring in-state housing providers over out-of-state providers.

Petition claims this favoritism violates state law, constitutes economic protectionism, includes no public policy reason to support the idea of favoring one form of housing at the cost of another, does not provide written reason for the action, and the action does not follow a comprehensive city plan. Other than that, I think the crew camp operators would agree the new regs obey the law.

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