Amy Dalrymple / Bismarck Tribune
The U.S. Forest Service is working to update its oil and gas leasing direction for the Little Missouri National Grassland, a document that hasn’t been updated since the Bakken oil boom was in its infancy. Changes proposed in the draft supplemental environmental impact statement would only affect 216,300 acres that are available for leasing but currently not leased. Lands that are already leased by oil and gas companies would not be affected unless those leases expire. The agency is considering three options: • Continue leasing with the current stipulations.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp isn’t sure what her next chapter will be, but she knows where it will unfold. “I’m going to be back in North Dakota. Whatever I do, I’m going to be doing it from North Dakota,” Heitkamp said this week. In an interview with The Bismarck Tribune, the Democrat reflected on her time in office that will end sooner than she hoped after her election loss to Rep. Kevin Cramer.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Health is seeking input on establishing a new permit system for alternative methods of cleaning up oil and other hydrocarbon spills. An informational meeting scheduled next week comes as one company has a pilot project to use bioremediation, also known as landfarming, to remove spilled oil and allow the soil to be reused.
BISMARCK -- The U.S. Senate on Friday, Dec. 7, unanimously approved Savanna’s Act, legislation that aims to gather data on missing and murdered Native American women. The act, introduced by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., is named for Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, a pregnant Fargo woman who was abducted and killed last year. The legislation would improve data collection on tribal victims, improve tribal access to federal law enforcement databases and create guidelines for responding when someone’s reported missing.
BISMARCK — An economic recession projected to occur during North Dakota’s next two-year budget cycle is expected to be both good and bad news for the state, an economist said Wednesday. Dan White, of Moody’s Analytics, presented an economic outlook to legislators as they begin to consider Gov. Doug Burgum’s budget proposal for 2019-21. The forecast calls for strong expectations in 2019 followed by a slower pace of growth similar to the rate of inflation for 2020 and 2021, said White, director of government consulting and public finance research.
BISMARCK — A custodian for Centennial Elementary School in Bismarck is no longer employed by the school district after he was accused of having sexual contact with a young boy. Blake Graff, 63, is charged in Burleigh County District Court with gross sexual imposition, a Class A felony. In a message to Centennial parents, school officials said the victim was not a student at the school.
BISMARCK — The regional director of the Environmental Protection Agency told North Dakota oil and coal leaders on Tuesday, Dec. 4, he wants to learn more about their industries in an effort to improve regulations. Doug Benevento, who leads the Denver-based EPA office that oversees North Dakota, invited input from industry during two roundtable discussions held in Bismarck.
TWIN BUTTES, N.D. - Voters in Twin Buttes elected a woman to the school board Tuesday, Nov. 27, who was previously convicted in federal court of stealing more than $300,000 from the district while serving as board president. Melissa Starr, who pleaded guilty in 2007 to embezzlement and theft, received 35 write-in votes in a special election held after citizens sought to recall another board member. A total of 54 people voted in the election, with three people splitting the remaining 19 votes.
BISMARCK - The North Dakota Industrial Commission voted Tuesday, Nov. 20, to give the oil industry more flexibility to meet natural gas flaring regulations, emphasizing policies that encourage the industry to invest in gas capture. Commissioners, led by Gov. Doug Burgum, changed the goals of the gas capture policy first adopted in 2014 to focus on increasing the volume of captured gas rather than reducing the flared volume.
SIOUX COUNTY, N.D. — A Native voting rights group is raising questions about a lack of documentation to support voting precincts in Sioux County, home to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Four Directions, whose mission is to promote equality at the ballot box in Indian Country, attempted to get the legal boundary definitions for precincts in Sioux County.