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General News

North Dakota's Emergency Commission has approved a proposal by the state Health Department to convert a temporary part time position within its Life, Safety and Construction Division to a temporary full-time position.

That person would help review construction plans for long term care facilities and hospitals. That review is required by state law.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission has approved an “advanced determination of prudence” for a proposed 151.2 megawatt wind farm in South Dakota.

Xcel Energy asked for that determination.

"It's to meet its obligation under an electric service agreement with Honeycrisp Power, a subsidiary of Google," PSC Chairman Brian Kroshus said. "It will provide electric service to Google's proposed data center, to be loacted at the Sherco generation station property in Becker, Minnesota."

Google wants to build a $600 million data facility there.

PSC looking at wind farm decommissioning plans

Dec 10, 2019

Thirty-four North Dakota wind farms have filed “decommissioning plans” with the North Dakota Public Service Commission.

The plans are now required for all wind projects. The first plan is due by the facility’s 10th year, and must be updated every five years after that. The plans deal with clean up of the sites. Those decommissioning plans include the cost per turbine location for reclamation.

The PSC requires a licensed North Dakota engineer to come up with those plans.

The Burleigh County Commission has narrowly voted to approve the settlement of refugees in that county.

That means the county will not become the first in the nation to reject refugee resettlement.

Gov. Doug Burgum had already agreed to accept refugees in the state. And with the Governor’s endorsement, it fell to the county commission to accept refugee resettlement. Two North Dakota counties – Grand Forks and Cass – have already agreed to take refugees. Lutheran Social Services manages the resettlement program.

Helium in the Williston Basin?

Dec 6, 2019

The Williston Basin is known for its oil and gas reserves.

But helium?

"We know that there's helium there in the Basin," said state geologist Ed Murphy. "That's from what little records we have on that."

Murphy said the Canadians have much more information on this.

"They've got economic quantities of helium, produced in the 1960s and 1970s," Murphy said. "They're back in now with a big drilling program."

Murphy said that program is centered on southern Saskatchewan.

"And we're saying, 'Let's take a look at North Dakota,'" Murphy said.

A Fargo construction firm has been fined $7,100 for violating North Dakota’s “One Call” law.

The Public Service Commission agreed to suspend $1,000 of the fine levied against KPH, because it was the first offense. KPH was charged with “failure to conduct excavations in a prudent manner.”

Xcel Energy reported seven separate violations, where 5/8 inch natural gas lines were hit, along with one 2 inch line, and one underground power line. This happened in Fargo.

After seeing a problematic if not impossible harvest this fall, growers with American Crystal Sugar were given a year-to-year comparison of the 2018 crop year and how it fares against the 2019 crop. Prairie Public’s Todd McDonald has details…

Courtesy ND Division of Homeland Security

North Dakota state agencies have begun meeting to prepare for spring flooding.

"Going into this fall, we are at a historic soil saturation, pretty much statewide," said North Dakota Homeland Security director Cody Schulz. "The Water Commission is calling it 'once in a generation.'"

Schulz said the agencies thought the earlier to start preparing, the better.

Ashtabula wind farm first in ND to re-power

Dec 4, 2019

A wind farm in Barnes County is the first facility in North Dakota to be re-powered – that is, upgraded from the original.

The Public Service Commission has okayed the re-power plan. Under it, Ashtabula Wind will replace existing turbines with newer, more power-generating models, that will increase its capacity from 148.5 megawatts to 160.4 megawatts. The turbine blades will also be larger.

The company had started work on the site before the PSC acted.

A New Town construction firm has been fined $4600 for violating North Dakota’s “Call Before You Dig” law.

The owners of the Arrow pipeline filed a complaint against Diamond Willow Energy, LLC for not following that law. Public Service Commission chairman Brian Kroshus said Diamond Willow was working on a project on the Fort Berthold Reservation.

"They (Diamond Willow) failed to contact the Notification Center and provide an excavation notice or location notice before beginning an excavation," Kroshus said.