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WATFORD CITY — The McKenzie County Commission voted unanimously Thursday to petition the governor to remove Sheriff Gary Schwartzenberger from office after an investigation into workplace bullying and retaliation. Commissioners also voted unanimously to place Lt. Michael Schmitz on administrative leave while commissioners decide on disciplinary action that could include termination.
WILLISTON — North Dakota oil production has dropped below 1 million barrels per day for the first time since hitting that milestone in April 2014. The state's oil production fell 4.7 percent in August to an average of 981,039 barrels per day, the Department of Mineral Resources said Thursday. "This is a day we had been anticipating but not looking forward to," said Director Lynn Helms. North Dakota oil production peaked in December 2014 at nearly 1.23 million barrels per day.
WATFORD CITY, N.D. – An unknown volume of natural gas released from a well in McKenzie County this week after a mechanical failure caused crews to lose control of the well, the North Dakota Department of Health said Thursday, Oct. 13. A Continental Resources well about 10 miles north of Watford City was releasing natural gas and other hydrocarbons from about 10 a.m. until it was stabilized around 7 p.m. Tuesday after a blowout valve malfunctioned, said Bill Suess, spill investigations program manager.
BISMARCK — Special education teachers who travel to a school near the Dakota Access Pipeline protests are scared to drive in the area after getting harassed, the Burleigh County Special Education Unit wrote in a letter to state officials. Delays while staff attempt to travel to and from the Little Heart School in St. Anthony are causing students to miss federally mandated special education services, said Barry Chathams, director of the unit, in a letter to Superintendent of Schools Kirsten Baesler.
BAGLEY, Minn. — Two activists who tampered with Enbridge pipeline valves in solidarity with Dakota Access Pipeline opponents have been charged with felonies in Minnesota's Clearwater County. Emily Johnston, 50, Seattle, and Annette Marie Klapstein, 64, Bainbridge Island, Wash., were each charged Wednesday, Oct. 12, with two felony counts related to criminal damage to property of critical public utilities and two gross misdemeanor charges of trespassing.
WILLISTON — Williston leaders said they're building for the future as they broke ground Monday on a new regional airport. Construction will begin this week on the $240 million Williston Basin International Airport, projected to be complete by the third quarter of 2019, said Airport Director Steven Kjergaard. "This is going to be an amazing addition to your community for decades to come," said Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who attended a groundbreaking ceremony Monday along with North Dakota's congressional delegation.
MORTON COUNTY, N.D. — The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe disputes the conclusions of state archaeologists who found that construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline did not destroy sacred sites, after the company refused to allow tribal participation in the survey. The Morton County Sheriff's Department made several efforts to encourage the company to involve tribal representation or at least allow the tribal historic preservation officer to be present while the property was surveyed on Sept. 21, said Capt. Jay Gruebele.
KILLDEER, N.D. — An oilfield waste treating plant north of Killdeer with a history of not complying with state rules must close after state regulators denied the facility a permit this week. Renewable Resources also will be required to properly dispose of a stockpile of oilfield waste that was recently estimated to be nearly four times the amount the facility was allowed to store, according to the North Dakota Department of Health.
WASHINGTON - The Federal Railroad Administration has identified potential flaws in some DOT-111 tank cars that carry crude oil and other hazardous liquids and is asking owners to take immediate action. The FRA said it has identified potential defects in a small portion of the U.S. tank car fleet manufactured by American Railcar Industries and ACF Industries between 2009 and 2015 that could cause leaks of hazardous liquids. The potential flaws are in the welds at the bottom of the tank car that don't meet federal safety regulations or industry specifications, the agency said.
WATFORD CITY, N.D. — A historic ranch in the North Dakota Badlands sold Wednesday, Sept. 28, for more than $3.3 million to nine different buyers. About 150 people attended the live auction for the Woodie Lee Watson Family Trust Ranch, with more than 50 registered to bid. The Watsons' decision to sell the nearly 2,000 acres south of Watford City that had been in the family for generations gave bidders a rare chance to buy land with prime views of the Little Missouri Scenic River and Theodore Roosevelt National Park.