Amy Dalrymple / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK—North Dakota's land commissioner cautioned Thursday, Aug. 30, that the energy and agriculture industries could see significant delays to obtain easements for state-owned lands under a change in administrative process directed by the Legislature. Commissioner Jodi Smith said the state Department of Trust Lands is working on new administrative rules as directed by lawmakers last session, but finding some unintended consequences.
BISMARCK—New figures from the U.S. Department of Energy show North Dakota as a leading state for wind energy development. North Dakota added 249 megawatts of wind capacity in 2017, ranking eighth in the nation, according to the department's 2017 Wind Technologies Market Report released last week. The state had a total of 2,996 megawatts of wind capacity at the end of 2017, the report said, making North Dakota 11th in the country for the total amount of wind capacity installed.
BISMARCK—The National Weather Service is taking steps to improve weather radar coverage for western North Dakota after a deadly tornado in Watford City raised awareness of gaps in coverage. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has committed to studying whether the Minot radar system can be adjusted to improve coverage in western North Dakota, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said Thursday.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Agriculture is launching a new program to help landowners resolve concerns related to wind energy development. Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring announced Monday the creation of a wind energy restoration and reclamation oversight program, similar to an initiative developed in 2015 related to pipeline construction. The program will allow a landowner or tenant who is dissatisfied by the response of a wind energy company related to reclamation of their property to work with a Department of Agriculture ombudsman.
DICKINSON, N.D. -- The owner of a small crude oil refinery in western North Dakota is proposing to convert the facility to process vegetable oil instead of petroleum to produce renewable diesel. Andeavor, formerly known as Tesoro, plans to export the renewable diesel to California, where the product is in high demand.
BISMARCK—Hours after a devastating tornado ripped through Watford City, McKenzie County's emergency manager began pushing for better weather radar coverage in western North Dakota. The closest Doppler radars to Watford City are near Minot and Glasgow, Mont., or 140 to 180 miles away. At that distance, the radars are detecting storms forming at least 10,000 feet above ground, said John Paul Martin, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Bismarck.
BISMARCK—Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke plans to spend four days next week in North Dakota, including visiting Theodore Roosevelt National Park and meeting with state and tribal leaders. Zinke, who was invited to Bismarck to speak at an oil industry conference, will spend Monday, May 21, through Thursday, May 24, in North Dakota, followed by a three-day visit to South Dakota, Interior Press Secretary Heather Swift said.
BISMARCK—It was throwback Thursday for the North Dakota Industrial Commission on May 17. Members approved meeting minutes from the past eight months after falling behind with publishing the records, a delay commissioners said was due to a staffing shortage. Gov. Doug Burgum and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, two of the three commission members, did not ask any questions as they approved the minutes, which were from 12 previous meetings dating back to August 2017.
BISMARCK -- The North Dakota Department of Health is seeking public comments as it establishes a new Department of Environmental Quality. The department’s Environmental Health Section is becoming a separate agency as directed by state legislators last session. Before the change can become official, the department has to adopt new rules. Dave Glatt, chief of the Environmental Health Section, said the new rules primarily involve changing the name and other minor updates to wording.
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."