Amy Dalrymple / Bismarck Tribune
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.
BISMARCK—North Dakota oil production jumped 5.4 percent in April to more than 1.2 million barrels per day, coming in just shy of the state's record. Director of Mineral Resources Lynn Helms called it a big surprise to see production levels within 2,500 barrels of the all-time high of nearly 1.23 million barrels per day. "We were not expecting that kind of a surge until late May, early June," Helms said Friday while discussing the preliminary figures.
BISMARCK—An air quality permit has been issued for an oil refinery that has drawn opposition for its proximity to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the North Dakota Department of Health announced Wednesday, June 13. But Meridian Energy is facing potential appeals or legal challenges from multiple fronts, as conservation groups said Wednesday they are reviewing the permit and weighing their next steps. Also Wednesday, the Dakota Resource Council filed a court complaint against Meridian Energy alleging the company's zoning permit from Billings County is not valid.
BISMARCK — A North Dakota wind project that raised concerns with wildlife officials about impacts to habitat is moving forward this summer after the developer made a $557,000 payment to Ducks Unlimited. The North Dakota Game and Fish Department wrote in comments to state utility regulators that a considerable portion of the Foxtail Wind Project in Dickey County would affect native, unbroken prairie that is vital to declining wildlife populations.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is working to reduce the impact of wind development on wildlife habitat, but the agency's process to develop new guidelines has drawn opposition from the state's energy and agriculture industries. Game and Fish has proposed voluntary guidelines that aim to steer wind developers away from erecting turbines and building roads in wildlife habitat areas. The recommendations also outline a process for companies to offset their impact to habitat through projects that restore or reconstruct habitat elsewhere.
CROSBY, N.D. — A valve or piping connection leak caused an estimated 1,796 barrels, or 75,432 gallons, of brine to leak at a saltwater disposal well over the weekend in Divide County, the North Dakota Oil and Gas Division said Monday, June 4. Goodnight Midstream discovered the spill Saturday at a well 8 miles west of Crosby and reported it to regulators on Sunday. The spill was contained on the facility location within the diking around the saltwater disposal well, a spill report shows.
BISMARCK — A journalist arrested last year while covering the Dakota Access Pipeline protest was found not guilty Friday, June 1, of criminal trespass after a daylong court trial. South Central Judicial District Judge Thomas Schneider said journalist Jenni Monet complied with law enforcement orders while reporting on the demonstration and he doesn't believe she knowingly broke the law.
BELFIELD, N.D. — A proposal to expand U.S. Highway 85 in western North Dakota continues to get mixed reviews, with some saying it's needed to improve safety and others worried about impacts to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The North Dakota Department of Transportation is holding three public hearings this week on a plan to expand the highway from two to four lanes between Watford City and Interstate 94. It's still not known how the estimated $479 million project would be paid for or when construction would start.