General News | Prairie Public Broadcasting

General News

The “Director’s Cut” report on oil and gas production for June in North Dakota is a mixed bag.

State mineral resources director Lynn Helms said oil and natural gas production in North Dakota set a new record.

"We had a two percent increase in oil production, and a two percent increase in natural gas production -- both of them new all-time highs," Helms said. "Oil production jumped by 30,000 barrels per day, to 1,425,000 barrels a day. And with the associated gas, another record."

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

An interim legislative committee has started talking about what to do with the proceeds from the state’s Legacy Fund.

That fund gets oil tax money – and was set up for future needs, when the oil is depleted. But the proceeds now go into the state’s General Fund.

The 2019 Legislature considered a number of proposals for use of those dollars – but all failed.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The chairman of the Legislature’s interim Energy Development and Transmission Committee said that panel will be very busy, tackling a number of issues in the energy industry.

Topping the list: addressing the flaring of natural gas.

"If we don't, it's going to limit oil production," said Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson).

Wardner told the Committee it’s also against North Dakota’s nature to waste anything, let alone natural gas.

2020 Census: Getting things ready to get it done right

Aug 14, 2019

Things are ramping up at the North Dakota Census office. Prairie Public Reporter Todd McDonald provides some insight into what it takes to accurately count North Dakota’s population…

If a company wants to build a petrochemical plant in North Dakota, it can receive some tax breaks to do so.

The 2019 Legislature passed a measure to give the company a sales tax exemption for construction of such a plant.

"There was an organization looking at putting a facility in the state of North Dakota," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Jason Dockter (R-Bismarck). "Since we only meet every two years, we wanted to put the bill in to help along that process."

Dockter said the bill does have a potentially high price tag.

Ducks Unlimited proposing a new city park for Bismarck

Aug 14, 2019
Ducks Unlimited

Ducks Unlimited is working on a proposed new city park for Bismarck.

The park would be next to the DU property in western Bismarck.

It will be on 120 acres, on Burnt Boat Road.

"There is a beautiful valley, just north of Burnt Boat Road, that we have all driven by about a million times," said DU Director of Public Policy for the Great Plains Region, Carmen Miller. "We have the opportunity to set that aside."

Normally, interim legislative committees will come up with bills for the upcoming Legislative session, based on the studies assigned.

But the chairman of the interim Commerce Committee has a different idea.

"I would prefer, as the chair, to not have an interim committee bill introduced," said Rep. Scott Louser (R-Minot), the chairman of the interim Commerce Committee.

Instead, Louser prefers bills to be introduced by individual legislators.

Louser had a bill during the 2019 session that would have prohibited interim committees from introducing measures.

Interim committee studying rural grocery stores

Aug 12, 2019
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

An interim Legislative committee is studying the distribution and transportation of food in rural communities.

But it isn’t an easy issue to solve.

The study came from concerns about the loss of grocery stores in smaller cities.

“When we started this work in 2014, we documented 137 full-service stores in towns with 2100 people or less," said Lori Capouch, the rural development director for the North Dakota Rural Electric and Telecommunications Development Center. "As of today, there are 98 stores remaining."

Despite having “abnormally dry” conditions in the Devils Lake region the process of pumping water from the flood swollen Devils Lake continues. Jeff Frith is manager of the Devils Lake Basin Joint Water Resources Board. He says given the dry conditions and the current pumping capacity the lake is not lowering as fast as some may think.

North Dakota’s fourth medical marijuana dispensary opens next week.

It’s in Bismarck – and opens Tuesday.

And there are more dispensaries to come.

"We have four additional locations within the state -- Jamestown, Devils Lake, Minot and Dickinson," said Health Department Medical Marijuana division director Jason Wahl. "They have entities who are moving forward in the registration process."

Wahl said the next dispensary to likely open will be Jamestown.