Local Stories

Slight drop in oil production reported in November

Jan 13, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

"Slips, Trips and Falls." 

That's State mineral resources director Lynn Helms' theme for the January director’s cut briefing – where he presented November’s oil and gas production.

"Production did slide -- or slip -- from October to November," Helms said. "About 10,000 barrels a day."

It dropped from 1,043,693 barrels a day in October, to 1,033,693 barrels a day in November. And Helms said about 80 percent of that slip happened on the Ft. Berthold reservation.

Further Declines in ND Taxable Sales and Purchases

Jan 13, 2017

State Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger says the 3rd Quarter of 2016 saw a 20% decline in taxable sales and purchases. Commissioner Rauschenberger says the drop in revenues was not entirely unexpected…

"...I think that we anticipated that in the sense that pretty much the entire state -- mostly in the west -- was down. But the East was down too. I think the agricultural commodity prices have hit hard across the entire state."

Rauschenberger says for the west, it has been "doubled-up, with the oil activity being down."

Tourism 'big business' for North Dakota

Jan 13, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

03046 Tourism Burgum                                                      1-12-17 ddt

Statistics for 2015 show tourism is a big player in North Dakota’s economy.

A study shows nearly 22 million people visited North Dakota that year. They spent $3.1 billion dollars. And the study – done for North Dakota by the Pennsylvania-based Tourism Economics – shows the industry is outpacing many state industries.

"It's big business," said economist Adam Sacks with Tourism Economics. "As that money flows through the economy, it generates total business activity of $5 billion."

Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

The coal industry is breathing a sigh of relief with Donald Trump about to enter the White House.

He campaigned on an energy platform that would strip away Obama administration regulations on the fossil fuel industry. Chief among them: the Clean Power Plan.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The sponsor of a bill to raise the speed limit on North Dakota’s Interstate highways from 75 to 80 miles per hour said the bill will save time and money – and will not increase the number of accidents.

Senator Lonnie Laffen (R-Grand Forks) told the Senate Transportation Committee he had several reasons for introducing the bill. One is time.

A West Fargo lawmaker has introduced a bill to raise the speed limits on all state highways by 5 miles per hour.

"The Interstates would be 80, four lane highways would be 75, and two lane highways would be 70," said Rep. Ben Koppelman (R-West Fargo). "People are probably driving those speeds now."

Koppelman said it makes sense to have the speed limit at what is actually allowed.

"We (legislators) set policy," Koppelman said. "That's our job as a Legislature."

A state Senator thinks it’s time for a change – in time, that is.

Sen. Dave Oehlke (R-Devils Lake) has a bill to put all of North Dakota on Central Standard Time. And it would eliminate Daylight Savings Time for the state.

Oehlke has a number of co-sponsors. He said they all think it’s time to make this change.

"A couple of those folks have businesses that operate on both sides of the state, in both time zones," Oehlke said. "They see the total sense of making it work for their businesses in particular."

As for Daylight Savings Time?

'Single License Plate' bill rejected

Jan 12, 2017

03037 License plates                                              1-11-17 ddt

The House has rejected a measure to allow cars and trucks to only have one license plate, instead of two.

Supporters had argued it would save money. They also said 19 other states only require a rear plate. Opponents argue law enforcement wants two plates to make it easier to identify the owners – and they say it may increase costs for petroleum marketers, who will have to add a number of surveillance cameras to detect drive-offs. Supporters of the measure, however, reject those arguments.

The state Senate has rejected a bill that would change some of the definitions of “marriage” in North Dakota Century Code – to make it conform with the US Supreme Court decision that legalized same sex marriage.

The Senate Judiciary Committee had recommended the bill be defeated.

Sen. Janne Myrdal (R-Edinburgh)  is a member of that committee. She said the people who testified before the committee said it wouldn’t make any difference if the bill passed or failed. And Myrdal said the North Dakota Constitution describes marriage as between one man and one woman.

Rolla lawmaker wants to raise the minimum wage

Jan 11, 2017
Courtesy Rep. Nelson

The North Dakota Legislature will consider a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage.

Rep. Marvin Nelson (D-Rllla) wants to raise the minimum to $9.25 an hour. The bill would tie further increases in the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index.

Nelson said he’s hoping raising the minimum wage will attract workers to rural North Dakota.


News from NPR

More than a hundred female federal inmates, sentenced to long-term prison, have instead been held for years in two windowless rooms in a detention center in Brooklyn.

Conditions for the women have been found to violate international standards for the treatment of prisoners.

When Samantha Deffler was young, her mother would often call her by her siblings' names — even the dog's name. "Rebecca, Jesse, Molly, Tucker, Samantha," she says.

A group of scientists are gathering today in the U.K. to discuss a slab of ice that's cracking in Antarctica. The crack could soon split off a frozen chunk the size of Delaware.

Last year, Heidi Sevestre spent 6 weeks living on that giant slab of ice off the Antarctic Peninsula.

"It's like being on a different planet," says Sevestre, a glaciologist with the University of St Andrews in Scotland. She and her colleagues would get really excited whenever they saw a bird pass overhead because it was the only other sign of life around.

Prosecutors in South Korea have requested an arrest warrant for the de facto head of the nation's biggest conglomerate, Samsung, on charges of bribery and embezzlement in connection with a swirling scandal that led to the president's impeachment.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


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