Amy Dalrymple / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK — Members of the original committee that pushed for North Dakota’s Legacy Fund have reconvened and are cautioning against spending oil revenue before it’s in the bank. North Dakota Treasurer Kelly Schmidt is now a member of the committee that is working to educate the public and legislators as they consider proposals to tap into the earnings from the $5.6 billion fund. “We know there’s lots of ideas for spending Legacy Fund earnings,” said attorney Bob Harms, a member of
BISMARCK - The Drug Enforcement Administration saw a huge jump in methamphetamine seizures in North Dakota in 2018 as the drug becomes more accessible in the region. For fiscal year 2018, which ended on Sept. 30, the DEA seized 61.82 pounds of meth in North Dakota, up from 3.08 pounds that were seized in the state the year before. “Local and state law enforcement have probably seized an equal amount if not more,” said Ken Solek, assistant special agent in charge for the Minneapolis DEA Office.
BISMARCK — A recent study by the High Plains Fair Housing Council shows transgender people are experiencing high levels of discrimination when seeking housing in North Dakota. The nonprofit conducted 15 tests to determine if transgender testers received different treatment when looking for housing than people who are not transgender. “What happened most of the time is I would be treated way differently than the control tester,” said Rebel Marie, a transgender woman from Fargo who coordinated the testing.
BISMARCK — North Dakota oil production hit a record 1.39 million barrels per day in October, a 2.4 percent increase as operators accelerated production ahead of winter, the state’s top regulator said Friday, Dec. 14. Natural gas production also hit another record, but so did the volume of gas that was flared. The percentage of gas flared in October grew to 20 percent, the highest the state has seen since August 2015.
DICKINSON, N.D. — An attorney for conservation groups argued in court on Wednesday, Dec. 12, that air pollution estimates for a refinery proposed near a national park are underestimated, and health regulators should conduct a more comprehensive review. Scott Strand, representing the National Parks Conservation Association and the Environmental Law & Policy Center, said an air quality permit for the Davis Refinery should be vacated and sent back to the Department of Health for further analysis.
WASHINGTON — Legislation introduced by Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., that aims to give Native American tribes greater flexibility to manage their energy resources is headed to President Donald Trump to be signed into law. The U.S. House on Monday, Dec. 10, passed the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments of 2017. Hoeven said the legislation streamlines the process for tribes to enter into Tribal Energy Resource Agreements with the Department of Interior.
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.