Xcel says it's happy with its drone project

Oct 2, 2016

Xcel Energy said it’s been happy with the results so far of a project – where it is using drones to help find power line problems.

Xcel’s Mark Nisbet said the utility has been involved with the state’s two research universities to see if drones could help Xcel restore power faster to areas that have suffered storm damage.

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said he’s never experienced anything like it.

He’s talking about the Dakota Access Pipeline protest. Kirschmeier says it has taken a lot of manpower -- and hours.

"A lot of times when the Emergency Operations Center is put together, and you call for assistance, it's for a floord, or something of tthat nature," Kirchmeier said. "That only lasts for a certain amount of time. Here, it's the unknown -- how long is it going to last?"

Pipeline Drama Casts Shadow Over Oil Industry

Sep 29, 2016
Amy Sisk



The Obama Administration’s decision to temporarily halt construction on part of the 1,200-mile Dakota Access Pipeline has the oil industry on edge.

It was evident at the North Dakota Petroleum Council’s annual meeting, where the pipeline protests cast a shadow over an industry struggling amid low oil prices.

John Corley

When the Bakken Formation in Western North Dakota sparked an oil boom, the state received national attention for it. The combination of new drilling techniques and high oil prices created incredible wealth for the state. Even though the boom has subsided, the region still has the capacity to produce a lot of oil. However some oil wells are close to federally protected lands like Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the Little Missouri National Grassland.

Amy Sisk

More than a month after construction began on a controversial stretch of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the front line of the fight is filled with faces from Alaska to Florida.

The indigenous people here on the North Dakota prairie have waged similar fights on their reservations.

  Take the Sahme family, who set up camp a short walk from the central fire where people converge to hear prayer and song to the place.

“My dad brought a good tent,” said Tiwani Sahme as he opens the zipper.

Many Reasons, One Cause In Pipeline Protest

Sep 14, 2016
Amy Sisk

Opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline continues to grow beyond its North Dakota roots, with solidarity protests Tuesday in dozens of cities across the country and the world.

The protests began in April with a few members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation is downstream of where the 1,200-mile pipeline is slated to cross the Missouri River. The tribe is concerned a leak could contaminate its drinking water and that construction is already harming sacred sites near the reservation. But as the protests have spread, the motivations have also become more diverse.

The developer of the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline says it intends to meet with federal officials about the government’s decision to stop construction on the project near the Missouri River.


Andrew Cullen

Hundreds of people gathered on the lawn outside the North Dakota Capitol in Bismarck Friday afternoon for what was supposed to be a protest over construction of the $3.7-billion Dakota Access pipeline.


Dozens of state troopers lined up on the lawn in riot helmets, prepared for the possibility of violence. But the mood was joyous. People danced and sang and chanted, celebrating a surprise victory.


Just 12 years old, Alice Brownotter leads a crowd of hundreds in a rally against a major oil pipeline.

“We can’t drink oil,” they chant. “Keep it in the soil.”

She’s protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is slated to cross under the Missouri River, just upstream of her home on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in south-central North Dakota.

“When it goes through - or if - and when it breaks, it will affect everyone,” Alice said.

Dakota Access Pipeline construction stopped

Aug 18, 2016
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirschmeier said construction of the Dakota Access pipeline south of Mandan has been stopped – for safety reasons.

Kirschmeier said between 1500 and 2000 people are protesting the pipeline. He says Highway 1806 has now been closed just south of the Veterans’ Cemetery to the Sioux County line. Kirschmeyer said the protests have turned – as he put it – “unlawful.”

"Our biggest concern at this point is with traffic safety," Kirschmeier told reporters. "We want to make sure the protestors have the area to protest, but it has to be done legally."