Amy Dalrymple / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK — Parking complaints are common at North Dakota’s Capitol during the legislative session, but for Carel Two-Eagle it’s more than an inconvenience. The Capitol has two handicapped-accessible parking spots near the public entrance of the building, more than 350 feet from the door. Two-Eagle, a community activist who uses crutches due to osteoarthritis, arrives at the Capitol early each day to try to get a parking spot a little closer.
BISMARCK - Two Democratic legislators are proposing to increase North Dakota’s oil extraction tax, a move that would reverse a decision made by lawmakers in 2015. Sen. Merrill Piepkorn, D-Fargo, and Rep. Pamela Anderson, D-Fargo, have introduced similar proposals that would restore the oil extraction tax from 5 percent to 6.5 percent. They project the increase would generate nearly $600 million in revenue for the 2019-21 budget cycle that could be available for K-12 education, water projects, health care and other priorities.
BISMARCK -- A trooper with the North Dakota Highway Patrol is combining her background in cultural anthropology with law enforcement. Jenna Clawson Huibregtse is the cultural liaison officer for the Highway Patrol, a relatively new position created in part due to lessons learned from the Dakota Access Pipeline protest. Clawson Huibregtse, a trooper based in Bismarck with a master’s degree in cultural anthropology, was among the law enforcement officers who responded to the months-long protest.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Industrial Commission voted unanimously Friday, Jan. 18, to change how it monitors oil conditioning standards that aim to make Bakken crude oil safer for transportation. The commission will now require companies to submit vapor pressure tests twice a year instead of quarterly, focused on winter months when problems are more likely to arise, said Lynn Helms, Department of Mineral Resources director.
BISMARCK — North Dakota’s energy leaders voiced support Friday, Jan. 18, for a bill that seeks to deter tampering with critical infrastructure, but opponents said the language is too vague and could infringe on free speech. Sen. Janne Myrdal, R-Edinburg, introduced Senate Bill 2044 after environmental activists turned an oil pipeline valve in her northeast North Dakota district in 2016.
BISMARCK — A proposal in the North Dakota Senate could resolve a long-running dispute over how oil tax revenue is split with the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation. Senate Bill 2312 changes how revenue is shared from new wells on the Fort Berthold Reservation, a compromise that has the support of legislative and tribal leaders and the governor. The bill is estimated to shift an additional $33 million in oil tax revenue to the tribe for 2019-21, but supporters say the state will benefit from increased industry investment.
BISMARCK — State and tribal relationships took a small but symbolic step forward Thursday, Jan. 17, during a ceremony to recognize the flags of North Dakota’s five tribal nations that are now on display at the state Capitol. “It’s important to us because it means that we’re included and we’re thought of when we’re in the Capitol building,” said Alexis Davis, a member of the Turtle Mountain Youth Council. “For a long time, we felt like we had a voice but no one was listening.”
BISMARCK -- A conflict between Burleigh County leaders and Bismarck legislators over establishing universal vote centers is resurfacing at the Capitol this session. Several Bismarck lawmakers are sponsoring a bill they say aims to promote collaboration with legislators and party leaders when a county commission considers changing voting locations.
BISMARCK -- Northern North Dakota landowners with a history of oil-related spills on their land have donated $250,000 to promote education about cleaning up brine spills. Daryl and Christine Peterson made the contribution this week to the Northwest Landowners Association Foundation. The Bottineau County couple said they want to bring more attention to what options landowners have when dealing with contamination from produced water or brine, a waste byproduct of oil production.
BISMARCK -- A new study shows it may be economically viable for North Dakota oil companies to temporarily store natural gas underground as an alternative to flaring. The study by the Energy and Environmental Research Center at the University of North Dakota found that injecting natural gas into an underground rock formation and withdrawing it later could allow companies to produce more oil and meet the state’s gas capture goals.