Amy Dalrymple / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK — The United States is now the largest global crude oil producer, the U.S. Energy Information Administration announced Wednesday, Sept. 12. Preliminary estimates show that U.S. oil production likely surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia earlier this year, the EIA said. North Dakota, the No. 2 oil-producing state behind Texas, is mentioned by the EIA as one of the states that has seen significant growth. North Dakota produced an average of nearly 1.23 million barrels per day in June, the most recent data available.
BISMARCK — Bismarck political opponents who filed police reports against one another over campaign ads during a hotly contested primary race have reached a compromise and neither will face criminal charges. Burleigh County prosecutors have dismissed a misdemeanor charge of publication of false information in political advertisements against Duane Sand, a Republican who challenged two Republican incumbents for District 47 House.
BISMARCK — Two judges sided with Meridian Energy this week on legal challenges related to the Davis Refinery being built near Theodore Roosevelt National Park. South Central Judicial District Judge Bruce Haskell dismissed a claim Tuesday, Sept. 11, from the Dakota Resource Council, which challenged Meridian Energy's zoning permit from Billings County.
BISMARCK—North Dakota's land commissioner cautioned Thursday, Aug. 30, that the energy and agriculture industries could see significant delays to obtain easements for state-owned lands under a change in administrative process directed by the Legislature. Commissioner Jodi Smith said the state Department of Trust Lands is working on new administrative rules as directed by lawmakers last session, but finding some unintended consequences.
BISMARCK—New figures from the U.S. Department of Energy show North Dakota as a leading state for wind energy development. North Dakota added 249 megawatts of wind capacity in 2017, ranking eighth in the nation, according to the department's 2017 Wind Technologies Market Report released last week. The state had a total of 2,996 megawatts of wind capacity at the end of 2017, the report said, making North Dakota 11th in the country for the total amount of wind capacity installed.
BISMARCK — North Dakota geologists are re-evaluating whether local sources of sand could be used for hydraulic fracturing as oil industry demand increases. Oil companies now use greater volumes of sand for fracking, averaging about 2,500 to 5,000 tons per well, according to the Department of Mineral Resources. Operators are interested in finding a North Dakota source of sand to save on transportation costs rather than importing it by rail, said Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council.
BISMARCK—The National Weather Service is taking steps to improve weather radar coverage for western North Dakota after a deadly tornado in Watford City raised awareness of gaps in coverage. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has committed to studying whether the Minot radar system can be adjusted to improve coverage in western North Dakota, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said Thursday.
BISMARCK—The Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Interior as the tribe continues to challenge oil wells that tribal leaders say were drilled too close to Lake Sakakawea. The tribe is exhausting its appeals after the Bureau of Land Management approved oil wells that are closer to the lake than tribal regulations allow, MHA Chairman Mark Fox said in an interview on Wednesday.
BISMARCK—An analysis of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act shows that individuals are projected to pay more North Dakota state income tax while small businesses and corporations are expected to pay less than they did before the tax reform. Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said individual taxpayers will see mixed results from the federal tax reform that took effect this year, with smaller families likely paying less taxes to the state while larger families see an increase.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Agriculture is launching a new program to help landowners resolve concerns related to wind energy development. Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring announced Monday the creation of a wind energy restoration and reclamation oversight program, similar to an initiative developed in 2015 related to pipeline construction. The program will allow a landowner or tenant who is dissatisfied by the response of a wind energy company related to reclamation of their property to work with a Department of Agriculture ombudsman.