Amy Dalrymple is a Forum News Service reporter stationed in the Oil Patch. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (701) 580-6890.
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BISMARCK — At least five journalists have been charged with engaging in a riot while covering Dakota Access Pipeline protests, an offense that would carry a stiffer penalty under a proposal before the North Dakota Legislature. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Monday, Feb. 13, on House Bill 1426, which would make engaging in a riot a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine. Currently the offense is a Class B misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 30 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.
CANNON BALL, N.D. — Construction has resumed on the Dakota Access Pipeline as opponents continue trying to fight the project in court. Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, said Thursday Feb. 9, he expects the pipeline will be complete and transporting oil by early April. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officially issued an easement on Wednesday for the Lake Oahe crossing north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.
BISMARCK — North Dakota House lawmakers advanced four bills Monday, Feb. 6, aimed to give law enforcement more tools for responding to Dakota Access Pipeline protests. The package of bills, which some opponents criticized as "knee-jerk legislation," would double the penalties for some riot offenses and create a new felony offense for individuals who cause economic harm while committing a misdemeanor. The legislation, which still needs to be considered by the state Senate, also would make it a misdemeanor to wear a mask while committing a crime.
BISMARCK — Western North Dakota cities took on high levels of debt to keep up during the rapid growth years of the oil boom. Now mayors in the Bakken want to keep the same level of state oil tax revenue flowing back to their cities so they can keep up with debt payments. But changes to the way funding would go to "hub cities" — communities most affected by oil impacts — mean those funding levels could be cut short.
WASHINGTON — Approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline easement to cross Lake Oahe is “imminent,” members of North Dakota’s Congressional delegation said Tuesday, Jan. 31. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said Acting Secretary of the Army Robert Speer informed him Tuesday he has directed to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to proceed with the easement needed to complete the pipeline. Hoeven released the statement after meeting with Speer and Vice President Mike Pence.
BISMARCK — A complaint against Dakota Access Pipeline alleging violations of the North Dakota permit will proceed to a hearing, the state's Public Service Commission said Tuesday, Jan. 31. Commissioners unanimously denied a motion from the company to dismiss a complaint related to the company's failure to immediately notify regulators after cultural artifacts were found in the pipeline route in Morton County.
BISMARCK - Balancing North Dakota's budget could lead to less oversight of oil and gas development and fewer inspections of gathering pipelines at the same time that oil activity is expected to be on the upswing. Lynn Helms, the state's top oil regulator, said inspections of well sites and facilities would be reduced by half in 2017-19 if the Department of Mineral Resources budget is cut at the levels proposed by former Gov. Jack Dalrymple or Gov. Doug Burgum.
BISMARCK - Former Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley joked on social media about filling his time with errands and to-do lists after he left office last month, but he didn't stay out of work for long. Wrigley now works as an adviser for Sanford Health in Bismarck, a job he started on Jan. 3. "It was settled before I left office but I just wasn't talking about it at all," Wrigley said in an interview Wednesday, Jan. 25.
CANNON BALL, N.D. — Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II called on supporters to take their fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline to Washington, D.C., rather than come to North Dakota to protest. Archambault, who held a conference call with reporters a day after President Donald Trump's action to advance construction of the controversial pipeline, said the tribe stands by its decision to ask people to leave the pipeline resistance camp near Cannon Ball.
BISMARCK — A package of bills introduced by North Dakota House Democrats aims to bring more transparency and accountability to state government. The proposals include forming an ethics committee for the North Dakota Legislature, making more public records accessible online, prohibiting foreign campaign contributions and preventing candidates from using campaign funds for personal use.