Amy Dalrymple / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK — A new economic impact study shows North Dakota’s oil industry is maturing, with more long-term jobs to maintain production and fewer temporary workers. The oil industry had a $32.6 billion impact on the state’s economy in 2017, according to the study by North Dakota State University researchers. Dean Bangsund, research scientist with NDSU’s Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics, highlighted some of his most recent findings at the state Capitol on Tuesday.
BISMARCK — Western North Dakota landowners lined up Friday, March 1, to testify against an energy bill they called an “offensive” taking of private property rights, while supporters said there’s a misunderstanding of the bill’s intention. Sponsors of Senate Bill 2344 say it seeks to clarify issues related to pore space, or the cavity or void in a subsurface formation. Watford City attorney and landowner Dennis Johnson brought a sponge to the packed legislative committee hearing to illustrate pore space.
BISMARCK — A new North Dakota law better defining oil and gas ownership under Lake Sakakawea is constitutional but requires the state to refund too much money, a judge ruled Wednesday, Feb. 27. East Central Judicial District Judge John Irby issued a 25-page order in the lawsuit from Rep. Marvin Nelson, D-Rolla, former governor candidate Paul Sorum and others that challenged legislation approved by lawmakers in 2017.
BISMARCK - The National Weather Service recommends making adjustments to the Doppler radar near Minot after a deadly Watford City tornado in 2018 raised awareness about gaps in weather radar coverage. The Weather Service recently completed an analysis of the Doppler radar located east of the Minot Air Force Base at Deering. The agency recommends lowering the minimum scan angle of the radar, which would allow storms to be detected at a lower altitude.
BISMARCK -- The Dakota Access Pipeline developer filed a new lawsuit against Greenpeace and other defendants on Thursday, Feb. 21, about a week after a judge dismissed a complaint against the organization in federal court.
MANDAN, N.D. — Montana-Dakota Utilities announced Tuesday, Feb. 19, it plans to retire Heskett Station near Mandan in 2021 and replace the coal-fired electric generation units with a new natural gas facility. The Heskett Station, named for Montana-Dakota Utilities founder R.M. Heskett, employs 47 people and dates back to 1954. Montana-Dakota Utilities, a subsidiary of MDU Resources, said in a news release the decision to retire the units followed an analysis of how the company could best provide safe, reliable and low-cost service to customers.
BISMARCK -- Rep. Marvin Nelson got a face full of glass but no broken bones after his van struck a moose on Friday night, Feb. 15. The Democrat from Rolla picked up his granddaughters in Jamestown and was heading home when he spotted a moose in the ditch south of Rocklake in northern North Dakota. A moment after Nelson safely passed the moose and was feeling relieved, he encountered a second moose in the middle of Highway 281. “There was a big one standing right there with no place to go,” Nelson recalled Monday from his desk in the House chambers.
BISMARCK -- A bill related to high-level radioactive waste received support on Friday, Feb. 15, in the North Dakota Senate. Senate Bill 2037 sets up a framework for how the state would respond if the federal government ever designates North Dakota as a repository for nuclear waste. “This bill and its amendments are not an attempt to move nuclear waste to North Dakota,” said Sen. Jim Roers, R-Fargo, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
BISMARCK -- Oil companies that fail to cooperate with Department of Trust Lands audits could face fines of up to $1,000 per day under a bill unanimously approved Friday, Feb. 15, by the North Dakota Senate. The Department of Trust Lands has been struggling to complete audits of royalty payments because 20 percent of oil and gas operators have not provided documents requested by the state agency. In some cases, the department has been waiting years for the information, Land Commissioner Jodi Smith has said.
BISMARCK - The North Dakota Senate advanced a bill on Friday, Feb. 15, that seeks to deter people from tampering with pipelines and other critical infrastructure. Members voted 42-3 in favor of Senate Bill 2044, introduced in response to activists who tampered with an oil pipeline valve in northeast North Dakota in 2016. “We’re sending a clear message this is not something we can have happen here,” said Sen. Janne Myrdal, R-Edinburg, the primary sponsor of the bill.