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Published November 22, 2013, 09:44 AM

Oil crew camps becoming an issue in western South Dakota

BELLE FOURCHE, S.D. (AP) — Large camps built to house oil field workers have become a common site in western North Dakota, and now they're starting to materialize in western South Dakota.

BELLE FOURCHE, S.D. (AP) — Large camps built to house oil field workers have become a common site in western North Dakota, and now they're starting to materialize in western South Dakota.

Two applications for crew camps are being processed in Harding County, one has been submitted in Meade County, and the Butte County Commission plans a special meeting in mid-December to consider ordinances regulating camps in case they materialize there, the Black Hills Pioneer reported.

Many workers in the North Dakota oil patch commute from northwestern South Dakota, and the Keystone XL pipeline proposed to carry oil from western Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast would pass through western South Dakota.

"I think we better get in gear on this," Butte County Commissioner Cal Geis said.

Butte County Commission Chairman Kim Kling said a temporary housing ordinance could address safety and health aspects of crew camps.

"I also think we need to look at the nuisance (ordinance)," Geis said.

Harding County already has an ordinance addressing crew camps. The two proposed camps in that county both are near Buffalo. Each would have about 1,200 people working on the proposed Keystone XL, which is still awaiting federal approval.

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