Amy Dalrymple is a Forum News Service reporter stationed in the Oil Patch. She can be reached at email@example.com or (701) 580-6890.
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BISMARCK — Gov. Doug Burgum's campaign pledge to return his salary to taxpayers is meeting opposition in the Legislature, holding up approval of the governor's budget bill in the final stretch of the session. A conference committee failed to come up with a compromise Tuesday, April 25, after House lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to pay Burgum $1. The Senate previously approved a version of House Bill 1001 that set the governor's salary at $1 until the end of Burgum's term in December 2020 or until someone else takes office, whichever comes first.
MARMARTH, N.D. — A pipeline leak in southwest North Dakota has contaminated a tributary of the Little Missouri River, the North Dakota Department of Health said Monday, April 24. Oil emulsion, or a mixture of crude oil and brine, leaked from an underground flow line operated by Continental Resources, the department said. The spill was discovered by the company's field staff on Saturday about 5 miles southwest of Marmarth. Marmarth is 3 miles west of the Montana border in southwest North Dakota.
BISMARCK — The oil industry is working to avoid paying higher royalties to North Dakota by backing an amendment in a complex bill being considered in the final days of the state's legislative session. The amendment stems from a dispute with the North Dakota Department of Trust Lands, which says some oil companies are underpaying the state by taking improper deductions on natural gas royalties. The North Dakota Petroleum Council has a different interpretation of the leases that have been in place since 1979 and accuses the department of drastically changing its policy.
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers are proposing to form a committee to study tribal taxation issues in an attempt to reach a compromise with the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation over oil tax revenue. Sen. Dwight Cook, R-Mandan, said he plans to introduce an amendment on Friday, April 21, that establishes a 10-member committee to study the oil tax and other issues during the 2017-18 interim, bringing tribal leaders to the table.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Legislature has approved a bill clarifying that the state does not own minerals under Lake Sakakawea, setting up a process to return an estimated $187 million in bonus, rent and royalty payments. Supporters of Senate Bill 2134 say it's about doing the "right thing" for citizens who retained their minerals when they lost land for the construction of the Garrison Dam, which created Lake Sakakawea.
BISMARCK — North Dakota legislators found a way to provide $825,000 for human trafficking victim services, allowing programs established two years ago to continue. The House cited budget shortfalls when it cut funding earlier this session to $250,000, one-fourth the amount requested by the Attorney General's Office. The programs, established with $1.25 million by the 2015 Legislature, served 79 human trafficking victims last year, including 26 minors.
BISMARCK — A bill adding protections for confidential informants used by law enforcement received final approval in the North Dakota Legislature on Tuesday, April 18. The Senate voted 44-1 to approve House Bill 1221, known as "Andrew's Law," sending the proposed legislation to Gov. Doug Burgum for a signature.
WILLISTON, N.D. — North Dakota oil production exceeded expectations in February, jumping 5.4 percent to more than 1 million barrels a day, the Department of Mineral Resources said Thursday, April 13. Oil activity in the Bakken is projected to be “very aggressive” this summer, but companies are struggling to recruit enough workers for hydraulic fracturing crews and truck driving positions, said Director Lynn Helms.
BISMARCK — North Dakota House lawmakers rejected a bill Wednesday, April 12, to lift the state’s ban on parking meters, but the issue will still be debated in a separate bill. The House had previously approved a version of Senate Bill 2247 that opened the door for parking meters but required cities to put the issue to a vote of the people before installing meters.
BISMARCK — Representatives of seven oil companies that operate on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation support sending a greater share of oil tax revenue to the Three Affiliated Tribes, a move that would cost the state $145 million in 2017-19. In a letter to Gov. Doug Burgum and legislative leaders, the oil industry representatives said they support the tribe's position to receive 100 percent of tax revenue from oil produced on trust lands within the reservation. Currently the state and tribe split oil tax revenue from trust and fee lands equally.