Industrial Commission approved revised oil rules

Nov 8, 2016
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The state Mineral Resources Department has come up with some oil and gas rule revisions that an industry spokesman says are much clearer than first proposed.

And the state Industrial Commission has signed off on the changes.

The proposed rules put new regulations on when containment berms have to be built on oil well pads. They also require wells to be at least 500 feet away from an occupied residence. And they set bonding requirements for crude oil pipelines.

PSC to hold 'conversations' on renewable energy

Nov 7, 2016
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission is looking at holding a series of conversations with the public – to discuss renewable energy

This comes after Xcel Energy announced it is going to be developing four new wind farms – three in Minnesota, one in Dickey County, North Dakota. In a news release, Xcel said it would save customers “hundreds of millions of dollars” in energy costs over the next 20 years.

"I didn't know about this until I saw the press release," said Commissioner Brian Kalk. He said Xcel has not yet filed a wind farm permit application with the PSC.

Police arrested 18 people -- including clergy members -- protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline Thursday on North Dakota’s Capitol grounds.

Faith leaders and protesters prayed and sang outside the Capitol. The group of 60 of various religions came from across the country to support a local tribe fighting the oil pipeline.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The chairman of the North Dakota Public Service Commission is having PSC staff draft a complaint against the developers of the Dakota Access Pipeline – for not telling the Commission about artifacts it found along the route.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The state’s Emergency Commission has okayed another $4 million in borrowing authority from the Bank of North Dakota – for law enforcement costs due to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.

The Commission had earlier approved $6 million.

"This will probably take us to the end of November," said Gov. Jack Dalrymple, the chairman of the Commission. "Then we'll see where we are."

West entrance of the State Capitol vandalized

Nov 1, 2016

The west entrance to the State Capitol in Bismarck was vandalized Monday night.

"There was, it appears to be, used motor oil thrown at the west entrance," said state Office of Management and Budget director Pam Sharp. "It got on the limestone and the doors, and the sidewalk."

Sharp said it happened around 9:30 Monday night. Security camera footage shows two people dressed in black brought the oil. A sign was placed nearby, saying “You Can’t Drink Oil.”

Sharp said at this point, it's hard to determine the extent of damage, and how much clean up will cost.

Weekend DAPL protest at the Capitol peaceful

Oct 31, 2016
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

About 100 demonstrators gathered at the state Capitol in Bismarck Saturday – in a show of solidarity for those protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, near the Standing rock Reservation  south of Mandan.

The protestors at the Capitol were there with a permit in hand, and they were determined to keep it peaceful. The organizer – Kirsten Kelsch of Bismarck – said they had a message to deliver.

Protestors removed from new north camp

Oct 28, 2016
Amy Sisk / Prairie Public/Inside Energy

Law enforcement officers have evicted about 200 Dakota Access Pipeline protestors from an encampment on land owned by the company, about a mile north of the main protest camp.

The officers made 141 arrests. Some protestors threw “Molotov cocktails” and other debris at the officers, but most walked back to the main camp. The officers also removed roadblocks set up by protestors. There were reports officers used rubber bullets and b-bs. Officers say one woman fired three rounds at officers, but no one was hurt. A helicopter hovered overhead.

Negotiations between DAPL protestors and law enforcement are 'at an impasse'

Oct 27, 2016
Amy Sisk / Prairie Public/Inside Energy

Morton County sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said so far, Dakota Access Pipeline protestors have refused to remove roadblocks on a Morton County road, and have refused to leave a new camp north of the original Spirit Camp.

That new camp is on land now owned by the developers of the pipeline. Law enforcement approached the protestors, asking them to return to the main encampment, but protestors refused.

"Basically, we came to a standstill, or impasse," Kirchmeier told reporters. He said he plans to continue his efforts to try and convince the protestors to move.

Morton County Commission chairman Cody Schultz says he’s saddened, frustrated and confused by the statements made by Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault after weekend incidents involving Dakota Access Pipeline protestors.

One hundred twenty seven protestors were arrested in several incidents Saturday and Sunday.

Archambault sent a statement – saying the incidents escalated because of what he called “strong arm tactics and abuses by law enforcement.”

Schultz takes issue with that.