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.

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.

Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

There’s a sense of excitement taking over the Bakken oil patch, like at the M&H gas station in Williston.

Over the last year, it was pretty quiet for store manager Angela Neuman.

“Now, there’s a constant rush at some point or another during the day,” she said. “You notice more cars, you notice more fuel, you notice your fuel deliveries are more.”

She’s having to place more orders for her two most popular items: cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will continue curbing oil output through March 2018, opening the door for more production in the United States.


Late last year, OPEC -- along with Russia -- agreed to cut production. 

The cartel wanted to boost oil prices amid an oversupply of crude on the global market. 

But OPEC's cuts gave the United States an opportunity to fill in the gap. Oil production here soared and prices have moved up, but more slowly than anticipated. 

Minot-based Central Power Cooperative is receiving a $50.4 million loan from USDA’s electric program.

The loan will be used to add 32 miles of transmission line, replace 57 miles of existing line, build 9 new substations and make improvements to 20 other substations.

Central Power is a generation and transmission cooperative that serves six distribution co-ops. Those co-ops serve 65,000 customers across 25 counties in central and southeastern North Dakota.

In North Dakota, Will Wind Keep The Lights On?

May 16, 2017
Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

Steven Somsen’s farm has looked the same his entire life -- it’s flat, with wheat and soybeans that will soon grow as far as the eye can see.

But the 61-year-old’s view changed last year.

“Those are the closest ones to us, but they’re not our towers,” he said, pointing to several nearby wind turbines. “That’s the neighbors’. Ours are way, way off in there.”

One hundred wind turbines dot the farmland around his rural community of Courtenay in eastern North Dakota. Somsen has three on his land.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A subsidiary of MDU Resources, In. continues to work on a project to bring more natural gas to eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota.

It’s called the Valley Expansion project. WBI would build a 38 mile pipeline to connect the Viking Gas Transmission Company’s pipeline in Felton, Minnesota to the existing Williston Basin pipeline near Mapleton.

ND still producing over one million barrels of oil

May 12, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota is still producing over one million barrels of oil per day.

That’s shown in the just-released March production figures.

"We had a very slight downtick in production from February to March," said Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms at his monthly "Director's Cut" briefing. "Gas production was up 1.4%."

The figures: March oil production at 1,025,638 barrels a day. Natural gas at 1.7 MCF per day.

Shelved wind farm could be soon under construction

May 11, 2017

A wind farm project that has been on the shelf for several years may soon be built.

The Merricourt Wind Power Project was to be built near Ashley, in McIntosh County. The Public Service Commission had given the project siting approval in 2008. However, it was never built.

But now, the developer has filed a new siting application – and the PSC has scheduled a hearing on it.

Commissioners said some of the proposed wind power projects couldn’t find anyone to buy the power, so they weren’t built.