Amy Dalrymple / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK—A member of the North Dakota Public Service Commission said this week he'd like regulators to get more aggressive with contractors with repeat violations of the North Dakota One-Call law. Commissioner Brian Kroshus made the comments Wednesday, March 14, as the commission issued a $7,000 fine to Wagner Construction for repeat violations of the state's excavation notice system law. "These are serious instances where someone could be seriously hurt or even killed in the process of excavation," Kroshus said. "It's not something to be taken lightly."
BISMARCK—Meteorologist Daryl Ritchison had a mixed message Tuesday for North Dakota farmers and ranchers worried about the potential for another season of drought. Ritchison predicts precipitation will be close to normal in 2018, but reminded producers that North Dakota is normally dry, and the state is low on soil moisture from 2017. "We're catching up to last year," said Ritchison, interim director of the North Dakota Agriculture Weather Network. "If we have average precipitation this summer, and my forecast is right, 90 percent of you will think I stink."
BISMARCK—Conservationists warned Thursday, Feb. 1, that North Dakota's Badlands are threatened by oil and gas development unless the public and state leaders take action. The Badlands Conservation Alliance and the North Dakota Wildlife Federation released a short film called "Keeping All the Pieces" aimed at trying to minimize impacts of energy development on the state's natural resources.
BISMARCK — The Board of University and School Lands welcomed a new land commissioner Wednesday, Dec. 6, while recognizing outgoing commissioner Lance Gaebe for his service. Jodi Smith attended her first board meeting as commissioner of the North Dakota Department of Trust Lands while Gaebe attended his last meeting after spending about a week helping with the transition. "He's been wonderful to work with, and I commend him as a leader," said Smith, in her eighth day in the position.
BISMARCK — Officials in McKenzie County say they want to better understand the risks of a proposed oilfield waste facility that would involve injecting a mixture of solid and liquid waste underground. The North Dakota Department of Health has scheduled a public hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21, at the Watford City Civic Center for a radioactive materials handling license sought by Waste Management of North Dakota.
BISMARCK—An oil company failed to report a 19,740-gallon brine spill at a site in Bottineau County last month until after a landowner noticed and alerted health officials. Great American Royalties Inc. filed a report on Monday, Oct. 9, about a tank that overflowed on Sept. 24 about 12 miles northwest of Maxbass, spilling 470 barrels of brine or saltwater, a waste byproduct of oil development. "The company did not make a notification until they were told to," said Bill Suess, spill investigation program manager for the North Dakota Department of Health.
TIOGA, N.D. — Four years after discovering North Dakota's largest oil pipeline spill, Steve and Patty Jensen are looking forward to removing the last contaminated soil from their former wheat field. Crews are nearly done excavating soil from what remains a massive operation to clean up 20,600 barrels — 865,200 gallons — of Bakken crude that Steve Jensen discovered while harvesting wheat on Sept. 29, 2013.
BISMARCK — More data is needed to back up the state's weather modification program, Gov. Doug Burgum said Wednesday, Aug. 23, after farmers and ranchers raised strong opposition to cloud seeding during recent drought meetings. The comments came while Burgum led a meeting of the State Water Commission, but the group took no formal action to begin a study. Burgum said cloud seeding has been a hot topic as he and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring meet with agriculture producers struggling with drought conditions.
BISMARCK — Controversy over cloud seeding is intensifying in western North Dakota as farmers and ranchers coping with extreme drought question whether the program that's supposed to increase rainfall could be making their problems worse. Residents of Hettinger County — one of the areas hardest hit by drought this summer— are circulating a petition that seeks to end the weather modification program statewide. "Our fight is just to return to natural weather again," said Jamie Kouba, a farmer from Regent.
MANDAN, N.D.—About 6 percent of the state, including western Morton County, is experiencing exceptional drought conditions, the most severe of six categories rated by the U.S. Drought Monitor. The new rating released Thursday is only the second time portions of North Dakota have reached the exceptional drought level since the U.S. Drought Monitor map was created in 2000, said Adnan Akyuz, North Dakota's state climatologist. The last time was in 2006, when 2.4 percent of the state was categorized as exceptional drought, Akyuz said.