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General News

The North Dakota Public Service Commission has scheduled a formal hearing on Energy Transfer Partners’ plan to double the capacity of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The pipeline capacity would go from 500,000 barrels a day to 1.1 million barrels a day. The company plans to do that by adding five compressors. They would be built in Emmons County. And that’s why the hearing will be held in Linton Nov. 13th.

The commission received a number of comments, asking for the formal hearing. Commissioner Randy Christmann weighed-in on what the hearing will not be about.

Corrections study begins

Aug 21, 2019

The director of the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation learned something from the 2019 Legislature.

"I think the Department of Corrections failed, in trying to advocate for something, before it educated," said Leann Bertsch.

A new program is available through the North Dakota University System, that provides a skilled workforce scholarship and student loan repayment plan.

It’s called “ND Career Builders.”

"It's a statewide effort to recruit and retain talent for the state's high need and emerging occupations," said System vice-chancellor for administrative affairs, and the system's chief financial officer.

Dolan said half the program is dedicated to scholarships. She said students will work with their colleges, to see if they are in a program that meets the qualifications.

ND schools will see a phase-in of 'on-time funding'

Aug 21, 2019

North Dakota school districts have, up to now, been receiving their per-pupil payments from the state on a one-year delay.

It’s based on the previous year’s enrollment.

That's according to a law passed in the 2013 Legislature.

But this year, the Legislature approved a change.

School districts will receive half of what is called “on-time” payments. And that percentage will increase 10 percent per year until the 100 percent on-time level is reached.

Because marijuana is still listed by the federal government as a “Schedule One” drug, those who are in the medical marijuana business have to deal with only cash.

Banks face losing their federal charters if they would allow deposits. And the banks could be criminally charged.

The Independent Community Bankers Association of North Dakota is hoping to change that.

"We have some 40 states that have some form of approved marijuana," said ICBND president Barry Haugen. "As an all-cash business, that's  proving to be unsafe."

Helms: 50-50 on attracting a petrochemical plant to ND

Aug 19, 2019

North Dakota Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms said he's on a "50-50" confidence level of the state attracting a petrochemical plant.

Helms was part of a delegation from North Dakota that looked at petrochemical facilities in Alberta.

"There are at least three pet-chem processors in Alberta that have expressed interest in North Dakota," Helms said. "It's not a one-off -- there isn't just a single company we're pursuing that it's a make-or-break. That increases the confidence level."

One of the companies is reportedly Dow Chemical.

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…