Gov. Burgum releases budget guidelines for 2017-2019

8 hours ago
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Gov. Doug Burgum has given state agencies their budget guidelines for the 2019-2021 biennium.

This comes on the heels of the significant budget reductions enacted by the 2017 Legislature, where the budget was balanced by cutting general fund spending from $6 billion to $4.3 billion.

"It was paired with the use of every available dollar from various savings and reserve accounts," Burgum told the department heads. "We have to continue to pursue a vision of a leaner and more responsive state government."

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The North Dakota Industrial Commission has approved some tweaks to the Commission’s natural gas flaring rules.

"We think that refocusing our efforts on stranded gas, and on people who are not meeting gas capture goals, while keeping the goals in place and keeping their feet to the fire, is the right way to go," said state Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms.

ND Commerce dept.

03021 Trucking                                                        4-17-18 ddt

The most recent Omnibus spending bill Congress approved has a provision that eases load restriction on North Dakota Interstate highways.

It affects I-29 and I-94.

"What that means is, we can probably decrease our cost of transportation by 30 percent," said North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Jay Schuler. "In the case of containers, we'll be able to pull two 20 foot containers versus one."

Schuler said there's a little more expense on loading and unloading.

Infrastructure issues in the Oil Patch

Apr 17, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota's oil patch could see some issues with a lack of infrastructure to get oil and natural gas to market.

Since the Dakota Access Pipeline was completed, the premium charged against Bakken crude oil has dropped.

It was at its highest when a lot of oil was being transported by rail – and that meant discounts were taken because of transportation costs.

But as oil production is expected to increase, North Dakota could see a swing again toward rail transport of crude.

ND Tax Dept.

The US Supreme Court will hear a case tomorrow (Tuesday, 4-17-18) that could force Internet retailers to start collecting state sales taxes.

The case comes from South Dakota.  It attempts to reverse the decision in the earlier “Quill” case from North Dakota. “Quill” sold office supplies through catalogs. The high court would not allow North Dakota and other states to require the collection of sales taxes from retailers that don’t have a physical presence in that state.  The justices ruled that it would be extremely difficult to collect sales taxes in different states.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota’s Industrial Commission will be looking at what state mineral resources director Lynn Helms calls “tweaks” to its natural gas flaring policy.

Helms said the oil and gas industry is recommending the Commission keep the rules in place for both reservation and non-reservation lands, and wants the Commission to stick with its gas capture goals. But Helms said the rules might change when it comes to “stranded gas.”

City of Minot

The state Water Commission has reallocated just over $11 million from the flood protection efforts in the city of Minot to do work outside the city.

Construction on the first three phases of the project is underway in Minot.

Souris River Water Board representative Ryan Ackerman told the Water Commission the budget for those three phases was about $120 million.

"The bids came in roughly around $100 million," Ackerman said. "We had the savings of $20 million."

The state share is roughly 65 percent of that, or about $11 million.

US Attorney gives Victim Assistance Awards

Apr 15, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

To mark National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, North Dakota US Attorney Christopher Myers handed out a number of Victim assistance awards at a ceremony in Bismarck.

The theme of the ceremony was “Expand the Circle – Reach All Victims.”

"Far too often, the stuff that happens behind the scenes -- working with victims, helping them -- rarely gets recognized," Myers said. "It's probably one of the most important things we do on a daily basis."

FM Diversion Authority

The Fargo-Moorhead Area Diversion Authority has delayed its request to the North Dakota State Water Commission for another $66.5 million for the diversion project.

The Authority will make the formal request in June, when the Water Commission meets in Fargo. Authority members told the Commission the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will have a decision on the “plan B” for the project, the product of a task force chaired by North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton.

UAS technology now meeting Counter-UAS technology

Apr 12, 2018
Grand Sky Development Co.

After seeing years of development in unmanned aerial systems, new developments are budding in “counter-UAS” technology. Reporter Todd McDonald has details...