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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MORTON COUNTY, N.D. — One day after negotiations between Dakota Access Pipeline protesters and law enforcement broke down, the mood was tense but quiet Thursday, Oct. 27, as the sun rose above the resistance camps. Above, in restricted airspace, a North Dakota Highway Patrol aircraft circled. Cecily Fong, spokeswoman for the state's Department of Emergency Services, said medical staffing is in place should any injuries occur at the protest sites.
MANDAN, N.D. - The dog handlers who provided security for Dakota Access LLC during a Sept. 3 clash with protesters were not properly licensed to provide security in North Dakota, a Morton County investigation found. Names of the unlicensed security officers have been forwarded to prosecutors for possible charges, but investigators were only able to identify two of the seven dog handlers, said Capt. Jay Gruebele of the Morton County Sheriff's Department. Providing private security services without a license is a Class B misdemeanor in North Dakota.
WATFORD CITY, N.D. — The acting state's attorney for McKenzie County said Monday, Oct. 24, he anticipates filing a petition for the removal of the sheriff this week. The McKenzie County Commission received an update Monday on the commission's request to have acting state's attorney Todd Schwarz draft a petition to seek the removal of Sheriff Gary Schwartzenberger from office.
MANDAN, N.D. — Two participants in the Dakota Access Pipeline protest have been charged with crimes related to using drones in what may be the first criminal cases in North Dakota against drone operators. One man is charged with stalking after he used a drone to photograph private security workers and another man is charged with felony reckless endangerment for allegedly flying a drone near a North Dakota Highway Patrol aircraft.
NEW TOWN, N.D. - A brine spill that affected a coulee and contaminated cropland this week may have been minimized if the site had a perimeter berm as proposed by the North Dakota Industrial Commission, a health official said Wednesday, Oct. 19. The North Dakota Department of Health is investigating a spill of 150 barrels, or 6,300 gallons, of produced water that occurred Tuesday at a saltwater disposal well about 7 miles northeast of New Town.
WATFORD CITY, N.D. - The McKenzie County sheriff is asking a judge to block an attempt by county leaders to remove him from office. Sheriff Gary Schwartzenberger argues in a court petition filed this week the McKenzie County Commission has overstepped its authority, and he's seeking to block the board's action to remove him and suspend a lieutenant.
WILLISTON — Oil industry representatives and private mineral owners are questioning whether the state of North Dakota is trying to claim ownership of minerals under Lake Sakakawea, and one attorney warns the uncertainty could deter development and lead to decades of lawsuits. The Board of University and School Lands has traditionally leased minerals under the Missouri River but not minerals under Lake Sakakawea, created by the Garrison Dam.
WASHINGTON — President Obama signed new legislation on Friday, Oct. 14, that aims to improve the lives of Native American children, the first bill Sen. Heidi Heitkamp introduced. The bill creates a Commission on Native Children that will study programs available for Native American children and identify solutions to address obstacles facing the youth such as lower high school graduation rates and increased risks of suicide. "There is a whole group of children in this country who have been neglected far too long," said Heitkamp, D-N.D.
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.