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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FESSENDEN, N.D. -- Officials in Wells County were in “crisis mode” this week after the sheriff resigned and two deputies were fired. Sheriff Johnny Z. Lawson resigned Tuesday night, April 25, citing personal reasons, said County Commission Chairwoman Mary Hager.
BISMARCK — North Dakota House members approved a bill Thursday, April 27, that lawmakers say allows Gov. Doug Burgum to fulfill his campaign pledge of not accepting a salary. House members, who previously rejected a proposal to pay Burgum $1, voted 79-10 on new language developed by a conference committee that met five times over two days to find a solution.
BISMARCK — A dispute between the North Dakota Department of Trust Lands and the oil industry over gas royalty payments will become part of a legislative management study under a bill lawmakers approved Wednesday, April 26. The department says some oil companies owe the state money after taking improper deductions on natural gas royalties, a discrepancy discovered in recent audits. The oil industry has a different interpretation of leases for state-owned minerals and claims the department is changing a decades-old policy.
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers reached a compromise Wednesday, April 26, on distributing dollars to Oil Patch communities while agreeing to study the funding formula for the top oil cities. The provisions in Senate Bill 2013 provide about $500 million for communities in western North Dakota from oil tax revenue and $16 million for townships in the rest of the state, said Rep. Jeff Delzer, R-Underwood. "I think it was a pretty good compromise all the way around," said Delzer, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
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.