North Dakota to Launch Spill Tracker Website

WATFORD CITY, ND - JULY 28: Drilling equipment sits in preparation on a drill site on July 28, 2013 outside Watford City, North Dakota. North Dakota has been experiencing an oil boom in recent years, due in part to new drilling techniques including hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. In April 2013, The United States Geological Survey released a new study estimating the Bakken formation and surrounding oil fields could yield up to 7.4 billion barrels of oil, doubling their estimate of 2008, which was stated at 3.65 billion barrels of oil. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images) (National Journal)

Following a public outcry in the wake of one of the largest oil spills in the state, North Dakota officials will launch a website this week that will allow anyone to track and find information about reported spills, the Associated Press reports.

The project's aim is to increase transparency, which many North Dakota residents feel is lacking after a ruptured pipeline in the fall led to the spill of more than 20,000 barrels of oil, but the accident went unreported to the public for nearly two weeks.

The website will contain information about recent spills as well as historical data charting spills dating to the 1970s.

Environmental advocates applauded the decision. "It's a long time coming and a step in the right direction, and something we've been asking for for a while," commented Don Morrison, executive director of the state-based conservationist group Dakota Resource Council.