Our contention is that the state of North Dakota must take responsibility because the vector for the contaminating of our land typically was and usually will be salt water which is public trust property. Yes, the state owns not only the fresh but also the salted water. Are we too late? No.
In order to fund remediatation a responsible party must be identified. If the state is the only remaining responsible party, so be it. Pay the bill out of oil extraction taxes. If responsible corporate parties can be found, the state’s expenditures for remediation can be obtained from the corporate entity by way of subrogation. This schema will result in a more uniform and complete remediation. The tort system by itself is erratic. There are some big winners and many more who make no recovery. In some instances the big winners take their money and move on leaving the land still poisoned.