Amy Dalrymple / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK—A public comment period for a refinery proposed near Theodore Roosevelt National Park begins on Friday with a public hearing set for January, the North Dakota Department of Health said Tuesday. Health regulators are inviting comments on a draft air pollution control permit required for the construction of the Davis Refinery, proposed by Meridian Energy Group about two miles west of Belfield. A review by the Division of Air Quality found the refinery is expected to comply with federal and state air pollution rules and regulations.
BISMARCK—North Dakota oil operators will be required to provide more details to mineral owners about deductions taken from their royalty checks under new rules approved unanimously Monday by the North Dakota Industrial Commission. The administrative rule changes aim to address a growing frustration among royalty owners about deductions taken from their payments.
DICKINSON, N.D. — Five years after regulators shut down an oilfield waste disposal well due to environmental violations, the landowners are still looking at the abandoned equipment from their dining room window. "We're sick of the mess," said Laura Griffin, who lives southwest of Dickinson. Well operators Jason Halek and Nathan Garber were sentenced last week in federal court for violating environmental laws while operating a saltwater disposal well in late 2011 and early 2012.
GOLDEN VALLEY, N.D. — A rare drilling rig is at work in central North Dakota this week, but crews aren't looking for oil. They're drilling two exploratory wells in the middle of coal country to help researchers determine the feasibility of storing carbon dioxide deep underground rather than emitting it into the atmosphere. It's part of a study nicknamed Project CarbonSAFE, led by the University of North Dakota's Energy and Environmental Research Center and funded, in part, by the U.S. Department of Energy.
BISMARCK — Federal prosecutors are seeking prison time for a man they say endangered drinking water sources by illegally operating an oilfield saltwater disposal well near Dickinson, N.D., and then attempting to cover up his environmental crimes. But a defense attorney for Jason Halek argues in court records that probation and home confinement is the right punishment, referring to the situation as a permit violation.
NEW TOWN, N.D.—The investigation into the disappearance of Olivia Lone Bear got off to a "very slow start," the chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation said Thursday, adding that protocols for responding to missing person cases should be improved. Chairman Mark Fox said while search efforts have become stronger in recent days, he is talking to federal, state and tribal leaders about getting more support to find the missing 32-year-old New Town woman.
BISMARCK—Oil companies flared 17 percent of natural gas produced in September, exceeding the state's flaring targets for the first time since they were adopted three years ago. Director of Mineral Resources Lynn Helms said the flaring of 323 million cubic feet per day was caused by unanticipated maintenance problems with pipelines, natural gas processing plants and compressor stations. Under guidelines adopted by the North Dakota Industrial Commission, oil companies are supposed to capture 85 percent of natural gas or limit flaring to no more than 15 percent.
MEDORA, N.D. — From a Badlands overlook across from the Elkhorn Ranch, Jay Clemens admires the same view Theodore Roosevelt once had while sitting on his porch. "It's a pretty stunning area," said Clemens, as an eagle flew overhead. But when he looks in the opposite direction on his western North Dakota property, Clemens can see oil wells, stockpiles of gravel and equipment drilling a saltwater disposal well.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota Attorney General's Office is seeking to delay a court case involving an oil and gas mineral ownership dispute along the Missouri River that the Supreme Court sent back to district court. The attorney representing the family of William S. Wilkinson in the case against the North Dakota Board of University and School Lands calls the state's request for a delay "completely unnecessary" and plans to oppose it.
BISMARCK — A sharply divided Board of University and School Lands voted 3-2 Tuesday to name Jodi Smith as commissioner of the North Dakota Department of Trust Lands. Gov. Doug Burgum, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt voted to offer the job to Smith, who they said is a strong communicator and could be a change agent for the department. Smith, of Bismarck, most recently worked as vice president of the western region for Sanford Health Foundation.