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 — Authorities are asking the public's help to locate three fugitives who are wanted on federal charges stemming from Dakota Access Pipeline protests. U.S. Attorney Christopher Myers announced Wednesday, Feb. 8, that an indictment was unsealed in U.S. District Court relating to an incident that occurred on Oct. 27. Brennon J. Nastacio, 36, Brandon Aaron Miller-Castillo, 22, and Dion Ortiz, 20, have been indicted for civil disorder and use of fire to commit a federal crime.
BISMARCK — North Dakota House lawmakers advanced four bills Monday, Feb. 6, aimed to give law enforcement more tools for responding to Dakota Access Pipeline protests. The package of bills, which some opponents criticized as "knee-jerk legislation," would double the penalties for some riot offenses and create a new felony offense for individuals who cause economic harm while committing a misdemeanor. The legislation, which still needs to be considered by the state Senate, also would make it a misdemeanor to wear a mask while committing a crime.
BISMARCK — Western North Dakota cities took on high levels of debt to keep up during the rapid growth years of the oil boom. Now mayors in the Bakken want to keep the same level of state oil tax revenue flowing back to their cities so they can keep up with debt payments. But changes to the way funding would go to "hub cities" — communities most affected by oil impacts — mean those funding levels could be cut short.
BISMARCK - Native Americans and members of other minority groups urged North Dakota legislators Thursday, Feb. 2, to require cultural competency training for all lawmakers. Senate Bill 2337 would require at least four hours of training to aid legislators in working with diverse populations in the state, including Native Americans. One of the bill sponsors is Sen. Richard Marcellais, D-Belcourt, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, who said the proposal aims to improve communications and relations with the state's five tribal nations.
BISMARCK — As Dakota Access Pipeline protest activity escalated Wednesday, a legislative committee worked into the evening to "fast-track" several bills introduced in response to the protests. The House Judiciary Committee gave a do-pass recommendation to three of the proposals, including one that relates to wearing a mask, but voted against two others, including increasing penalties for riot offenses.
WASHINGTON — Approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline easement to cross Lake Oahe is “imminent,” members of North Dakota’s Congressional delegation said Tuesday, Jan. 31. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said Acting Secretary of the Army Robert Speer informed him Tuesday he has directed to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to proceed with the easement needed to complete the pipeline. Hoeven released the statement after meeting with Speer and Vice President Mike Pence.
BISMARCK — A complaint against Dakota Access Pipeline alleging violations of the North Dakota permit will proceed to a hearing, the state's Public Service Commission said Tuesday, Jan. 31. Commissioners unanimously denied a motion from the company to dismiss a complaint related to the company's failure to immediately notify regulators after cultural artifacts were found in the pipeline route in Morton County.
BISMARCK - A bill introduced in the North Dakota House in response to recent Dakota Access Pipeline protests would increase the criminal penalties for engaging in a riot. House Bill 1426 would elevate offenses such as instigating a riot of 100 or more people or providing firearms or weapons for a riot from a Class C felony to a Class B felony. That would double the maximum penalties for such offenses to 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine.
BISMARCK - Balancing North Dakota's budget could lead to less oversight of oil and gas development and fewer inspections of gathering pipelines at the same time that oil activity is expected to be on the upswing. Lynn Helms, the state's top oil regulator, said inspections of well sites and facilities would be reduced by half in 2017-19 if the Department of Mineral Resources budget is cut at the levels proposed by former Gov. Jack Dalrymple or Gov. Doug Burgum.
BISMARCK - Former Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley joked on social media about filling his time with errands and to-do lists after he left office last month, but he didn't stay out of work for long. Wrigley now works as an adviser for Sanford Health in Bismarck, a job he started on Jan. 3. "It was settled before I left office but I just wasn't talking about it at all," Wrigley said in an interview Wednesday, Jan. 25.