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ND oil companies fight plan to slow production

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- North Dakota oil companies don't like a proposal that would have the industry cut back on oil production to control the amount of natural gas that's being wasted. Companies spoke out against the proposal at a hearing Tuesday in Bismarck.

Instead, the industry wants regulators to consider self-imposed steps to curb natural gas flaring. North Dakota drillers currently burn off, or flare, a record 36 percent of the valuable gas because development of gas pipelines and processing facilities haven't kept pace with oil drilling. Oil industry officials have pledged to capture 85 percent of the gas by 2016, and 90 percent within six years as infrastructure catches up with oil development. Watford City physician Lyle Best says slowing oil development would improve many problems in the state, including flaring.

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