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An interim Legislative committee will be studying whether state and local level regulation of radioactive waste is consistent with federal regulations.

The study will look at ensuring the state has proper input into the federal selection of nuclear waste depositories – and how the legislature can be called into special session to deal with the issue.

This comes from concerns in Wells County about a “test hole” to be drilled in the county. Residents there complained they were not told about the test.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A milestone for North Dakota Pipeline Authority director Justin Kringstad.

For the first time since he began that job – in 2008 – there is enough pipeline capacity to take the current production of Bakken crude to market. A substantial amount of crude has been shipped by rail – but that percentage has been reduced as more pipeline capacity comes on line.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is now operational – and is to carry 520,000 barrels of oil a day.

But Kringstad said oil will still move by rail.

'SIRN' project a go

Jun 6, 2017

It’s called the “Statewide Interoperable Radio Network” project – or “SIRN” (siren) for short.

And thanks to the actions of the 2017 Legislature, providing a funding mechanism, the project will soon get off the ground.

It’s a project that would allow various public safety agencies to talk to each other – a shortcoming pointed out nationally after 9/11, when first responders were unable to communicate.

Scorpions in North Dakota? Yes, there are

Jun 5, 2017
Image courtesy State Geologist Ed Murphy

When you think of scorpions, you may think of those poisonous desert-dwelling creatures from the southwestern part of the US.

Chances are, scorpions don’t come to mind when you think of North Dakota.

But they’re here – in areas with lignite coal.

"They live primarily in the cracks of coal," said State Geologist Ed Murphy. "We found out very early, working on coal in the 1980s, it wasn't unusual to have a scorpion hanging upside down on the bottom of the chunk of coal."

25% of North Dakota in 'moderate drought'

Jun 2, 2017

The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC-UNL. Edit | Remove

The latest US Drought monitor now shows about a quarter of North Dakota is in a moderate drought.

Self insurance study revived, modified

Jun 1, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A Legislative interim committee will study whether the state should continue with the current health insurance plan for state employees, or go with a self-funded plan.

Prairie Public file

Gov. Doug Burgum (R) will be asked to chair a special Tribal-State relations interim committee.

That committee will be especially looking at taxation issues between the state and the Tribal governments. That panel will be made up of the House and Senate leadership, representatives of the two Taxation committees, the Tax Commissioner, the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor.

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) made the motion in the Legislative Management Committee to ask the Governor to chair it.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Republican leaders in the North Dakota Legislature are awaiting an Attorney General’s opinion on some of Governor Burgum’s line item vetoes.

House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo) and Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) asked for the opinion after Burgum vetoed items dealing with Legislative interim studies and some other items. Carlson told the Legislative Management Committee they're looking for answers.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The North Dakota Public Service Commission will hold hearings on what PSC staff allege is violations of the siting permit issued to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The hearings will deal with the company clearing more trees and shrubs than authorized, as well as a re-route of a section of the line without telling the PSC about the re-route.

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said the potential violations were found by a third-party contractor, hired to inspect the pipeline's construction.

Wednesday, May 31 – Elaine Howley is a record-setting swimmer with quite a resume. She’s coming to North Dakota to participate in END-Racing’s Extreme North Dakota Watersports Endurance Test (END-WET). It’s the longest swimming race in North America, starting out 36 miles upstream of the finish line in Grand Forks. Elaine will be a featured speaker and a contestant. ~~~ President Donald Trump has pledged to revive rural communities, where many voters have felt ignored by previous administrations.


News from NPR

More than 140 people may be buried after a landslide in the town of Xinmo in southwest China Saturday.

Local officials are estimating 46 homes were buried under tons of rubble.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua reports that at least three people had been rescued and taken to a hospital with injuries it said were not life-threatening.

Venezuela's ongoing political and economic crisis has taken a toll on daily life there.

A crash in oil prices and political instability under President Nicolas Maduro have led to food shortages, and that has prompted almost daily street protests by thousands of Venezuelans.

A 35-year-old protester named Carlos tells NPR's Audie Cornish the food situation is "pretty extreme." NPR is using only his first name for his safety.

Arkansas's pesticide regulators have stepped into the middle of an epic battle between weeds and chemicals, which has now morphed into a battle between farmers. Hundreds of farmers say their crops have been damaged by a weedkiller that was sprayed on neighboring fields. Today, the Arkansas Plant Board voted to impose an unprecedented ban on that chemical.

Andy Slavitt understands the inner workings of the U.S. health care system better than most. From 2015 to 2017, he ran the Affordable Care Act, sometimes called Obamacare, as head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Since leaving that post in January, he's been an outspoken critic of the Republican proposals to dismantle it.

Yesterday, shortly after the release of the Senate bill, he tweeted, "It's the ugly step-sibling of the House bill." And this morning his message was, "We must start over. It's too important."

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


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Christopher Jones, ND DHS ~ Mark Trahant Essay ~ News Chat ~ Review: "My Cousin Rachel"

Christopher Jones took the reins earlier this year at the North Dakota Department of Human Services when he was appointed by Governor Burgum as the agency’s executive director. He joins us to discuss the many responsibilities of the agency and the challenges posed by this tough budget period. ~~~ UND professor Mark Trahant shares an essay on the impact the proposed federal budget would have on Indian Country. Mark writes for Native Voice One , a Native American Radio Network. Find his blog at...

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