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$12M in energy impact grants approved for western ND counties

BISMARCK — Fire districts and emergency medical services in western North Dakota will receive $12.2 million in Energy Impact Grant funds, part of an ongoing effort to address needs brought on by the state’s oil and gas boom.

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Of the 87 grants awarded Wednesday by the state Board of University and School Lands, the largest went to Watford City, which will receive $880,000 to buy a ladder truck and turnout gear for the volunteer fire department. The city also will receive nearly $348,000 for a new ambulance, emergency service equipment and additional staffing.

The Dickinson Rural Fire Department was awarded $500,000 to buy a water pumper truck, and Stanley will receive $564,000 to help purchase a new ambulance, a rescue truck and firefighting gear.

Other grants awarded Wednesday included $360,000 for the Williston Rural Fire District and $325,000 for the Wildrose Fire District in Williams County to purchase new fire trucks; $270,000 for Tioga to buy a new ambulance and complete an addition to its fire hall; and $250,000 for the Beach Community Ambulance Service for a new ambulance, equipment and staff.

“These grants are an important part of a larger state commitment to help the oil and gas region meet the challenges created by rapid growth,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple, the board’s chairman, said in a statement after the meeting.

Grant applications were accepted through September. A total of 142 applications requesting nearly $24 million were received and scored by an advisory committee.

The Land Board will award about $240 million in energy impact grants during the 2013-2015 biennium. Before Wednesday, it had already awarded about $96 million in the fiscal year that began July 1, about $6.3 million of which has been distributed as reimbursements to local entities. An additional $31 million is already pledged for the next fiscal year, said Lance Gaebe, commissioner of the state Department of Trust Lands.

The board consists of Dalrymple, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and state Treasurer Kelly Schmidt.

Mike Nowatzki

Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.