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 — House lawmakers voted to limit matching funds for senior citizen programs Thursday, March 30, a move supporters called "responsible government" while opponents said it could make it tougher for seniors to stay in their homes. House members voted 69-21 in favor of amendments to Senate Bill 2273, which caps funding for senior programs at $7 million for 2017-19, roughly the same funding level the programs received in 2015-17.
BELFIELD, N.D. — The Belle Fourche Pipeline system that contaminated a tributary of the Little Missouri River is in a landslide-prone area and vulnerable to future spills, federal pipeline regulators say. A document from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration shows that regulators believe the pipeline company may have experienced other spills in southwest North Dakota that went undetected due to inadequate leak detection monitoring and unstable terrain.
BISMARCK — The Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation is seeking a greater share of oil tax revenue to offset impacts of energy development on the reservation. Chairman Mark Fox said he continues to have concerns about changes North Dakota legislators made to the oil tax in 2015 and he's meeting with the governor and legislators to find a solution in the final weeks of the legislative session.
BISMARCK — The chairwoman of the state's anti-human trafficking task force says victim service programs could be in jeopardy under a funding cut recommended Tuesday, March 28, by a legislative committee. The House Appropriations Committee recommended reducing funding for human trafficking victim services to $250,000 for 2017-19, half of what the Senate approved and one-fourth the level requested by the Attorney General's Office. Committee members cited budget challenges as the need to cut general fund spending.
BISMARCK—Senate lawmakers voted Monday, March 27, to keep a provision that would charge the oil industry a slightly higher tax if the price of oil returns to $90 a barrel, rejecting a proposal approved by the House. In 2015, legislators reduced the tax charged on oil production from 11½ percent to 10 percent. Lawmakers included a so-called high-price trigger that would increase the tax to 11 percent if the price of West Texas Intermediate oil reached $90 a barrel for three consecutive months.
MORTON COUNTY, N.D.—The Dakota Access Pipeline under Lake Oahe now contains oil as the developer prepares to place the pipeline into service, the company said Monday, March 27. In a weekly construction status update filed in U.S. District Court, a Dakota Access LLC attorney wrote that the company is commissioning the full pipeline before it will be placed into service. The 1,172-mile pipeline has the ability to carry 470,000 barrels of Bakken crude each day to a transportation hub in Patoka, Ill.
BISMARCK—Senate lawmakers voted 31-14 Monday, March 27, to raise the threshold for reporting oil spills, a proposal the oil industry supported but many landowners opposed. Under House Bill 1151, the oil industry will no longer have to report spills of oil, produced water or natural gas liquids that are less than 10 barrels, or 420 gallons, if the spills stay on the well site or facility location.
BISMARCK — Environmental regulators in North Dakota worry that proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency's budget could have major local impacts. The state Department of Health relies on federal grants from the EPA to help fund many programs in the Environmental Health Section, such as those that protect the air and water. President Donald Trump proposes reducing the EPA's budget by 31 percent, but few details about the cuts are available.
MANDAN, N.D. — Actress Shailene Woodley has agreed to plead guilty to disorderly conduct and serve one year of unsupervised probation for her involvement with Dakota Access Pipeline protests last October. Woodley signed a plea agreement filed Friday, March 24, that states she would plead guilty to the Class B misdemeanor. The charge was amended from an earlier charge of criminal trespass. A misdemeanor charge of engaging in a riot will be dismissed under terms of the agreement.
TransCanada Corp. said on Friday, March 24, the U.S. Department of State issued a presidential permit for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline linking Canadian oil sands to U.S. refiners, a project blocked by former President Barack Obama. President Donald Trump signed an executive order to advance the project soon after taking office in January, saying it would create thousands of jobs. Obama had said the pipeline would do nothing to reduce fuel prices for U.S. motorists and would contribute emissions linked to global warming.