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Governor's office

Gov. Doug Burgum wants to reinvest half the proceeds from the state’s Legacy Fund back into the fund.

Burgum would use half for targeted needs, such as infrastructure and technology investments. But during his “State of the State” address, Burgum said the Legacy Fund is designed to help when the oil and gas run dry.

"If you reinvest half of it, then we set ourselves on a path where, in a short 13 years, we would have built up $26 billion," Burgum said. "I call that a good start."

Burgum said Norway's Sovereign Wealth Fund is $1 trillion.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The first declared Democratic candidate for North Dakota Governor said she’s running to be an “independent voice” that will balance the political discussion in the state.

51 year old Shelley Lenz is a veterinarian from Killdeer. She had served on the Killdeer school board. And she told Bismarck reporters one of the reasons she’s running is to reflect the frustration of people from western North Dakota.

NDDOT to partially outsource bridge inspections

Jan 27, 2020
ND Tourism

North Dakota’s Department of Transportation is contracting with consultants to perform bridge inspections.

"With the federal bridge inspection requirements, there's more detail and reporting that's required," said DOT State Bridge Engineer John Ketterling. "That will take increased staff time."

Ketterling said historically, the inspections have been performed by staff in the eight DOT districts in the state.

"They also have another duty," Ketterling said. "That's construction inspections for our road projects."

The developers of the proposed Ruso wind farm in northern McLean County have asked to appear before the North Dakota Public Service Commission, to make the case for an exemption from the state’s new law for light mitigation.

State law said wind farms permitted after June of 2016 would have to have new lighting systems that turn on tower lights only when an aircraft is detected in the area. One of the complaints from neighbors of wind farms has to do with the blinking red lights used on many of the towers.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission will not be asking for more documentation from the company proposing to more than double the capacity of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Energy Transfer wants to add compressors to raise the capacity from 500,000 barrels a day to 1.1 million barrels a day. It would build those compressors near Linton.

The Public Service Commission will hold a hearing in Williston on a proposal by ONEOK Bakken Pipeline to build a 75-mile-long, $100 million natural gas liquids pipeline in Williams County.

The pipeline would carry 30,000 barrels of NGLs from four natural gas processing plants in the area, connecting to existing NGL transmission lines in Montana.

"It's additional fill-in of the infrastructure needed to support natural gas processing industry, and ultimately to the reduction of flaring in the Bakken," said Commissioner Julie Fedorchak.

Burgum talks voting, census

Jan 23, 2020
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Gov. Doug Burgum wants to make sure every North Dakotan who is eligible to vote is able to cast a ballot.

And Burgum said that includes tribal members.

That was one of Burgum's messages to tribal leaders at the recent Government to Government Partnerships and Relationships Conference held recently at Bismarck State College.

"There are organizations that profit when they can create a division," Burgum said in an interview. "They have a narrative that for some reason, people would be prevented from voting. But the opposite is what the truth is."

North Dakota has seen an increase in the graduation rate for Native American students.

State school superintendent Kirsten Baesler said when she was first elected, the Native graduation rate was 57 percent. Now it’s 72 percent. And Baesler said while that is significant progress, there’s more to do.

The overall graduation rate in North Dakota is 89 percent.

Baesler attributes the better numbers for Native American children in part to more engaged school boards.

National Guard preparing for spring flooding

Jan 20, 2020

The North Dakota National Guard and other state and local agencies are preparing for potential spring flooding around the state.

National Guard Adjutant General Alan Dohrmann said a state team has been meeting to talk about response plans, and the Guard is reaching out to its partners at the local level.

"There's only one agency that has the actually has reserve forces, and that's the National Guard," Dohrmann said. "If things get tough, we know we have to come in and help out."

The Bismarck Airport will be looking at some improvement projects in mind for 2020 and beyond.

Topping the “to do” list: parking. The airport has set records for passenger boarding for the past 10 years.

"We have to kind of work to find places to park all the cars," said Airport manager Greg Haug.

Haug said he believes this past Christmas season saw a record number of cars being parked at the airport. And he said with the growing passenger traffic, parking is a big issue.