Amy Dalrymple / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK—About $1.6 million will be dedicated this year to stabilize collapsing underground coal mines in central and western North Dakota, preventing sinkholes from developing on roadways. Another $300,000 reclamation project will eliminate dangerous highwalls at two abandoned surface coal mines in Morton County. The dollars administered by the North Dakota Public Service Commission come from the Abandoned Mine Land program, funded through a federal tax on coal that is distributed to states.
BISMARCK—Political rivals Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Rep. Kevin Cramer shared a stage Thursday at the Lignite Energy Council annual meeting, each touting their backgrounds in representing North Dakota's coal industry. The discussion, which also featured Sen. John Hoeven, was not a debate or a campaign event, but Heitkamp and Cramer each highlighted their experiences at the state and federal levels to advocate for coal.
BISMARCK—XTO Energy proposes to develop more than 26,000 acres near Lake Sakakawea as one large drilling unit, a plan the company says will allow oil wells to be farther away from the lake. Company representatives said Wednesday, April 4, that developing the oil resources as one large unit rather than smaller individual units will allow more oil to be recovered while reducing impacts to the sensitive terrain.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota Oil and Gas Division has plugged a saltwater disposal well west of Dickinson that was the site of environmental violations and a lengthy federal investigation. Director of Mineral Resources Lynn Helms said Tuesday, April 3, the work to plug the well formerly owned by Halek Operating was completed at the end of February with reclamation work expected to begin this spring. Regulators ordered the well site to be shut down in early 2012 because it was not in compliance with federal rules and put drinking water sources at risk.
BISMARCK—A North Dakota state agency that claims some oil companies have improperly taken deductions from oil and gas royalty payments is defending itself against two lawsuits that will be closely watched by the industry. Continental Resources, one of several companies the North Dakota Department of Trust Lands says has underpaid royalties to the state, is challenging the department and the Board of University and School Lands in McKenzie County District Court.
BISMARCK—Alliance Pipeline is seeking commitments to expand a natural gas transmission pipeline that runs through North Dakota. The company's announcement this week comes as North Dakota oil and gas regulators are encouraging new infrastructure investment to handle growing volumes of natural gas production. North Dakota produces more than 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. That volume is projected to climb to between 3.5 billion and 4.5 billion cubic feet per day by 2035, said Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota Attorney General's Office continues to pursue potential legal action against the federal government to recoup costs associated with the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. The state is preparing to file a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act, which needs to include an itemized list of expenses such as equipment and law enforcement overtime, according to Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.
BISMARCK—As North Dakota health regulators continue to evaluate an air permit for a refinery proposed near Theodore Roosevelt National Park, it could be June before the project's water permit gets further review. A hearing has been tentatively set for June 26 to review a water permit recommendation for the Davis Refinery, said Timothy Dawson, director of the North Dakota Office of Administrative Hearings.
BISMARCK—Bismarck police are warning the public to be wary of fraud after three local women lost money to scammers recently, including one who sent a $900 MoneyGram to Puerto Rico because she believed her son's life was in danger. Bismarck Police Sgt. Mark Buschena said a 48-year-old Bismarck woman reported Friday evening, March 16, she answered the phone that afternoon to a male, sobbing, who said "Mom, Mom help me."
BISMARCK—A member of the North Dakota Public Service Commission said this week he'd like regulators to get more aggressive with contractors with repeat violations of the North Dakota One-Call law. Commissioner Brian Kroshus made the comments Wednesday, March 14, as the commission issued a $7,000 fine to Wagner Construction for repeat violations of the state's excavation notice system law. "These are serious instances where someone could be seriously hurt or even killed in the process of excavation," Kroshus said. "It's not something to be taken lightly."