Local Stories

Natural gas plant expansion approved by PSC

Mar 15, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A natural gas plant in McKenzie County has been given the green light to expand.

Arrow Field Service’s Arrow Bear Den plant will go from processing 30 million cubic feet of gas per day to 150 million cubic feet per day.  The expanded plant will produce natural gas liquids.

North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Brian Kroshus said he expects a lot more of these kinds of projects in western North Dakota, as gas production continues to ramp up.

PSC approves produced fuels pipeline upgrade

Mar 15, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission has given its approval to Cenex to build a new produced fuels pipeline – to bring mainly diesel fuel from its Laurel, Montana refinery to Minot.

It’s a 181 mile pipeline. It replaces an existing 8 inch diameter pipeline with a 10 inch diameter pipeline. The line being replaced would run from Sidney, Montana to Minot. The PSC has jurisdiction over 150 miles of the new pipeline, in Williams, Mountrail and Ward Counties.

The new pipeline would carry 38,000 barrels a day – with a potential expansion to 60,000 barrels a day.

ND Attorney General's office

A windfall – of sorts – for North Dakota.

The state is getting another $34 million from the tobacco settlement.

"A part of the terms for that settlement was that we would also diligently enforce the requirement that companies that didn't join the tobacco settlement would pay money into an escrow account," said North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. "That was to level the playing field, competitively."

A Minot lawmaker wants candidates in local races to have to show party affiliations.

Right now, those party ties are not on ballots for city government, school boards or other local elected offices. Rep. Scott Louser (R-Minot) said he tried to get the proposal as an amendment to a bill in the 2017 Legislature, but it was rejected. Louser is planning to introduce it as a stand-alone bill in the 2019 Legislature.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The director of the State Health Department’s Medical Marijuana division says the plan is to have medical marijuana available in North Dakota by the end of the calendar year.

Jason Wahl told the Legislature’s Administrative Rules committee – a big hurdle was the approval of the new administrative rules governing it.

"The Department is committing to implementing this program as quickly as it can," Wahl told the Committee. "It needs to insure the program is implemented in a well-regulated manner."

Lawmakers say raising the state gas tax is unlikely

Mar 10, 2018

An interim Legislative committee will be looking at ways to raise more money for highway construction and repair.

The state has traditionally used proceeds from the gasoline tax to match federal transportation dollars. During the oil boom, lawmakers used money from oil tax revenues to supplement the state’s share.

There had been some talk of increasing the gas tax. It's currently 23 cents a gallon. But one of the members of the interim Government Finance Committee believes that may be a non-starter.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has been spending his day in Fargo.

Election training includes cyber-security

Mar 9, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A federal Election Assistance Commissioner said voting systems are like most Information Technology systems – they’re subject to attack.

Matthew Masterson talked to County auditors from around North Dakota, who were in Bismarck for election training.

"Election officials already know what to look for," Masterson said in an interview. "They know their processes, their procedures and what steps they need to take. But it's taking the simple 'blocking and tackling' steps  of securing their data."

North Dakota's Senate Majority Leader likes the idea of using the Legacy Fund for low interest loans to cities and counties for infrastructure.

Two Minot lawmakers -- State Representative Roscoe Streyle (R) and State Senator David Hogue (R) have drafted a bill for the 2019 session to allow that. And Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney had suggested the idea as a source for capital to build the Red River Valley Water Supply Project – to bring Missouri River water to the Valley during droughts.

An interim Legislative committee is studying whether there will be an increase in driver’s license and vehicle registration fees.

"Right now, our understanding is we're losing money on it," said Interim Government Finance Committee chairman Sen. Ronald Sorvaag (R-Fargo). "Should the taxpayers subsidize the cost of you renewing your driver's license?"

The Committee study was contained in the Department of Transportation's budget bill.

"I think we're subsidizing the plates by $5, or something like that," said Sen. Gary Lee (R-Casselton). "Should we be doing that?"

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News from NPR

A few months ago, I wrote a check for $12,000 but couldn't figure out exactly why.

The payment was to secure a place for my mother at Sligo Creek Center, in Takoma Park, Md. It's a nursing home and rehab center owned by Genesis Healthcare.

My mother was about to be discharged from Holy Cross Hospital, in nearby Silver Spring, after a fall. Medicare wouldn't pay for her rehabilitation care.

Africa's last absolute monarch has marked his country's 50th birthday with a rather unconventional gift: a different name. During Golden Jubilee celebrations Thursday, King Mswati III announced that from this point henceforth, the land formerly known as Swaziland is now to be known as the Kingdom of eSwatini.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is levying a $1 billion fine against Wells Fargo — a record for the agency — in punishment for the banking giant's actions in its mortgage and auto loan businesses.

The CFPB said some consumers were charged too much over mortgage interest rate-lock extensions. And Wells Fargo also ran a mandatory insurance program that added insurance costs and fees into some borrowers' auto loans.

A gunman shot and killed two sheriff's deputies in a restaurant in Gilchrist County, Fla., on Thursday, in an attack that seems to have come with no warning.

Sgt. Noel Ramirez, 30, and Deputy Sheriff Taylor Lindsey, 25. were shot through the window. The gunman was later found dead nearby.

Sheriff Bobby Schultz called the two deputies "the best of the best," adding, "They're men of integrity, they're men of loyalty. They're God-fearing, and they loved what they did. And we're very proud of them."

Where other chefs might see kitchen trash, Tim Ma finds treasure — for his culinary creations, and his bottom line.

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Main Street

UND Alum Steve Martin ~ "Under the Streetlamp"

Thursday, April 19 – UND alum Steve Martin’s passion for environmentally friendly energy has taken him all over the world. He joins us to discuss his family’s deep ties to UND and his exciting career. ~~~ One of the popular TV shows on Prairie Public is “Under The Streetlamp: Rockin' Round the Clock,” a concert celebrating the American Radio Songbook of the 1950s through the 70s. Coming up next month, the show goes live, with performances in Bismarck and Fargo, featuring former Broadway cast...

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