Amy Dalrymple / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK—Meridian Energy Group announced Tuesday, July 17, it is starting site construction for the Davis Refinery near Belfield, a project that still faces legal challenges. SEH DesignBuild, which has an office in Bismarck, has been hired to lead civil construction of the site with subcontractors from the local area, according to a Meridian statement. Initial construction activities will include installing erosion control devices, stormwater pond development and other site grading.
BISMARCK—Hours after a devastating tornado ripped through Watford City, McKenzie County's emergency manager began pushing for better weather radar coverage in western North Dakota. The closest Doppler radars to Watford City are near Minot and Glasgow, Mont., or 140 to 180 miles away. At that distance, the radars are detecting storms forming at least 10,000 feet above ground, said John Paul Martin, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Bismarck.
BISMARCK—In the aftermath of a deadly tornado that struck in the heart of North Dakota's oil patch, state and local officials are calling for increased safety standards for RV parks that often house oilfield workers and families. An EF 2 tornado ripped through the Prairie View RV Park early Tuesday, July 10, killing a newborn baby and injuring more than two dozen people. The tornado displaced 200 people and destroyed at least 120 structures, including recreational vehicles that served as temporary housing.
WATFORD CITY — Less than 12 hours after a tornado struck Watford City, an American Red Cross emergency shelter was running out of space for community donations. Rob Stotz, executive director for the Dakotas Region Red Cross, said the response from the community was so overwhelming that he needed to spread word that they didn't need more clothing donations. "We've got tons of clothing, tons of items that are great, it's just we're running out of space," Stotz said. "It's amazing how many people are coming through and just want to contribute."
BISMARCK—As North Dakota transportation officials plan to incorporate wildlife crossings into a proposed expansion of U.S. Highway 85, state wildlife officials are evaluating the effectiveness of a critter crossing farther north. A recent highway expansion near Williston included an underpass designed for moose in a critical habitat area south of the Lewis and Clark Bridge. Now the North Dakota Department of Transportation is recommending two more underpasses on Highway 85 in the Badlands to accommodate bighorn sheep, mule deer and other animals.
BISMARCK—North Dakota utility regulators recently approved one company's plans for removing wind turbines and restoring the land, a step that aims to protect the landscape for future generations. Under new Public Service Commission rules, wind companies are required to submit plans and cost estimates for reclaiming wind projects when the turbines reach the end of their useful lives. Commissioners have approved plans for 14 NextEra Energy wind projects, the first ones submitted under the new requirements.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota Attorney General's Office filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Dakota Access LLC, alleging the company is in violation of the state's anti-corporate farming law. The company purchased much of the Cannonball Ranch north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in fall of 2016, when pipeline protests were ongoing in the area. State law prohibits corporations and limited liability companies from owning or leasing farmland and ranchland unless the land is necessary for commercial development.
BISMARCK—Two groups filed a complaint Friday with North Dakota utility regulators that seeks to stop construction of an oil refinery near Theodore Roosevelt National Park until the project receives a more thorough review. The Environmental Law & Policy Center and the Dakota Resource Council allege that Meridian Energy is attempting to circumvent state law by not applying for a permit with the Public Service Commission.
BISMARCK—A study that aims to resolve disputes over oil and gas ownership under Lake Sakakawea could lead to even more lawsuits unless a consultant's report is modified, an attorney said Tuesday. "They're rolling out the red carpet for litigation if they adopt the report as is," said attorney Josh Swanson, who represents several royalty owners. Swanson was among about a dozen people who commented during a three-hour public hearing on a study of the ordinary high water mark of the Missouri River as it existed before the Garrison Dam, which created Lake Sakakawea.
BISMARCK—A Republican Bismarck legislative candidate charged with a campaign crime is now accusing members of his party, including his opponent, of breaking the same law. Duane Sand, a District 47 House candidate who lost in the primary, filed a police report on Friday against Rep. George Keiser and others. Sand was charged last week with publication of false information in political advertisements for misstating Keiser's voting record on a campaign mailer.