WILLISTON, N.D.—A Texas company is appealing a $2.6 million fine for allegedly operating illegal temporary housing for its workers in the western North Dakota oil patch.

Williams County late last year fined Houston-based Stallion Oilfield Services for failing to follow conditions of a permit. Zoning officials said Stallion was originally approved in 2011 for 25 housing units but placed more than twice that amount at its site.

The company and the county differ in how housing units should be counted, the Williston Herald reported ( http://bit.ly/K8DQaz). The company considers several units connected together to be one unit, but the county disagrees with that method.

"The real dispute here is a difference in counting," Stallion attorney Levi Anders said.

Stallion attorney Robert Ryan said he also takes issue with the "massive" fine.

Commissioner Dan Kalil said the county doesn't have to allow temporary housing of any kind and since it does allow it, officials expect companies to follow the rules.

"We're allowing these guests to come here and live in an unconventional manner," he said, referring to the large, temporary crew camps that now dot the oil patch.

The commission plans to decide on Tuesday whether to uphold the fine.

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Information from: Williston Herald, http://www.willistonherald.com


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