Amy Dalrymple / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK — Two judges sided with Meridian Energy this week on legal challenges related to the Davis Refinery being built near Theodore Roosevelt National Park. South Central Judicial District Judge Bruce Haskell dismissed a claim Tuesday, Sept. 11, from the Dakota Resource Council, which challenged Meridian Energy's zoning permit from Billings County.
BISMARCK—An analysis of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act shows that individuals are projected to pay more North Dakota state income tax while small businesses and corporations are expected to pay less than they did before the tax reform. Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said individual taxpayers will see mixed results from the federal tax reform that took effect this year, with smaller families likely paying less taxes to the state while larger families see an increase.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Agriculture is launching a new program to help landowners resolve concerns related to wind energy development. Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring announced Monday the creation of a wind energy restoration and reclamation oversight program, similar to an initiative developed in 2015 related to pipeline construction. The program will allow a landowner or tenant who is dissatisfied by the response of a wind energy company related to reclamation of their property to work with a Department of Agriculture ombudsman.
BISMARCK — A company that operates oil pipelines in North Dakota is promoting an alternative method to cleaning up spills: introducing bugs to contaminated soil. Targa Resources has a pilot project in McKenzie County that is using bioremediation, also known as landfarming, to remove spilled oil and allow the soil to be reused. "When you spill hydrocarbon, there are naturally occurring microbes − bugs − that immediately start to eat it," said David McQuade, senior environmental director for Targa. "I'm adding a bunch more bugs that want to eat it at a faster rate."
BISMARCK—A public hearing for a proposed Little Missouri River crossing grew heated Thursday night, July 26, highlighting tension between people who call the Badlands home and visitors who treasure the remote and scenic landscape. Billings County Commission Chairman Jim Arthaud raised his voice several times in the meeting when opponents pressed for more explanation about why the bridge proposed north of Medora is needed.
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.
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.
BISMARCK—Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum shared similar visions Wednesday, May 23, for regulating oil development, focused on partnering with industry to spur innovation. "I don't think the government should be in a position to be an adversary," Zinke said as he delivered the keynote speech at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck. "We have to, as Interior, be a better partner. We have to work with industry."
BISMARCK—It was throwback Thursday for the North Dakota Industrial Commission on May 17. Members approved meeting minutes from the past eight months after falling behind with publishing the records, a delay commissioners said was due to a staffing shortage. Gov. Doug Burgum and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, two of the three commission members, did not ask any questions as they approved the minutes, which were from 12 previous meetings dating back to August 2017.
BISMARCK—North Dakota natural gas production hit another record high in March even as oil production dropped, illustrating the need for more gas infrastructure in the Bakken. The state produced more than 2.1 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas, with companies flaring about 12 percent of gas produced, the Department of Mineral Resources said Tuesday, May 15. Oil production dropped about 1 percent in March to 1.16 million barrels per day, preliminary figures show.