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North Dakota News
Thursday, February 20th 2020

Associated Press North Dakota News

UNITED STATES-NUCLEAR WEAPONS

Pentagon chief visits nuke base to highlight weapon spending

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. (AP) — Defense Secretary Mark Esper used his first-ever visit to a nuclear missile field in frigid North Dakota to tout the Trump administration's multibillion-dollar plan for a top-to-bottom modernization of the nuclear force. The administration is asking Congress for $46 billion in nuclear weapons spending for 2021. Esper also called on China to join the United States and Russia in negotiating a new nuclear arms control agreement. At Minot Air Force Base, Esper got an up-close look at two of the three main pillars of the U.S. nuclear arsenal — Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles and B-52 long-range bombers.

AP-US-DAKOTA-ACCESS-PIPELINE-EXPANSION

North Dakota regulators OK expanded Dakota Access pipeline

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota regulators have unanimously approved expanded capacity for the Dakota Access pipeline. The Public Service Commission's vote Wednesday came after it signaled last month that it was likely to give the OK for a permit for a pumping station to allow Energy Transfer to double the capacity of the pipeline. Energy Transfer says it's needed to meet growing demand for oil shipments from North Dakota. Opponents say the expansion would increase the possibility of an oil spill. They argue the commission should have considered effects all along the line and not solely at the pump station location. Permits for pumping stations in Iowa and Illinois are still pending.

TRAFFIC FATALITIES-NORTH DAKOTA

100 people killed in North Dakota traffic crashes in 2019

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota transportation officials say the final number is in on traffic fatalities last year. The state Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol say a total of 100 people were killed on North Dakota roadways in 2019. That's a decrease of five fatalities compared to 2018. Officials say it's the lowest number of fatalities in 15 years. DOT Director Bill Panos says traffic deaths have been on a downward trend since 2012.

SOLAR PURCHASE AGREEMENT

Basin Electric has solar purchase agreement with Geronimo

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A power cooperative based in Bismarck plans to buy solar generation on a large scale for the first time. Basin Electric Power Cooperative announced a power purchase agreement with Geronimo Energy, which is the developer of the Wild Spring Solar Project. The farm with a capacity of 128 megawatts would be the largest in South Dakota once built. It still needs local and state approval. The solar farm east of Rapid City in Pennington County is scheduled to begin operating in 2022. The Bismarck Tribune says Geronimo is the same company proposing the 200-megawatt Harmony solar farm in Cass County.

OIL TERMINAL SETTLEMENT

Texas co. to pay $2.4M penalty for ND oil terminal violation

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says a Texas company and its subsidiaries will pay a $2.4 million penalty to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act for a crude oil transloading facility the companies formerly owned and operated on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota. The EPA says the penalties are against US Development Group, LLC, and two subsidiaries. The agency says the companies constructed and operated the Van Hook Crude Terminal before receiving the necessary permit, a violation of the Clean Air Act. US Development Group later sold the terminal to another company.

UNION EMBEZZLEMENT INDICTMENT

Former labor union official accused of embezzling

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A former officer in a North Dakota labor union is accused of embezzling from the organization. An indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Fargo accuses Chad Michael Waldoch of stealing more than $107,000 from the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, Transportation Local 980. Court documents say the assets were embezzled between January 2012 and October 2017 while Waldoch served as the union's secretary-treasurer. KFGO reports Waldoch was arrested Friday in Fargo. A trial is scheduled to begin March 31. Waldoch did not immediately return a call for comment.

Wednesday, February 19th 2020

Associated Press North Dakota News

OIL TERMINAL SETTLEMENT

Texas co. to pay $2.4M penalty for ND oil terminal violation

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says a Texas company and its subsidiaries will pay a $2.4 million penalty to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act for a crude oil transloading facility the companies formerly owned and operated on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota. The EPA says the penalties are against US Development Group, LLC, and two subsidiaries. The agency says the companies constructed and operated the Van Hook Crude Terminal before receiving the necessary permit, a violation of the Clean Air Act. US Development Group later sold the terminal to another company.

UNION EMBEZZLEMENT INDICTMENT

Former labor union official accused of embezzling

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A former officer in a North Dakota labor union is accused of embezzling from the organization. An indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Fargo accuses Chad Michael Waldoch of stealing more than $107,000 from the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, Transportation Local 980. Court documents say the assets were embezzled between January 2012 and October 2017 while Waldoch served as the union's secretary-treasurer. KFGO reports Waldoch was arrested Friday in Fargo. A trial is scheduled to begin March 31. Waldoch did not immediately return a call for comment.

BEMIDJI HOMICIDE

Suspect sought in Bemidji shooting

BEMIDJI, Minn. (AP) — Authorities in northern Minnesota are searching for a suspect in a fatal shooting. Beltrami County sheriff's dispatchers got a call about a man who had been shot outside a residence Monday night. Police officers and sheriff's deputies arrived and found the body of a 20-year-old man. KVLY-TV reports the victim was found minutes after police were called to Sanford Hospital on a report of a 17-year-old male with a gunshot wound. His condition has not been released. Police are looking for a known suspect, an 18-year-old Bemidji man who is considered armed and dangerous.

ELECTION 2020-ARMSTRONG

Staunch Trump ally Armstrong aims to tackle practical issues

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A freshman congressman from North Dakota who spent much of his first term defending President Donald Trump during impeachment hearings says he wants to return to Washington and work on practical issues. Republican Rep. Kelly Armstrong formally announced his re-election bid Monday by telling supporters in Fargo he'll work with Democrats on some issues, like prescription drug prices, immigration and criminal justice reform. The state's lone House member says he won't budge on support for gun rights and opposition to abortion and federal regulations that would stifle North Dakota industry like energy and agriculture.

APARTMENT FIRE-GRAND FORKS

2 injured in Grand Forks apartment fire

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — Two people are hurt and a number of people are displaced after a fire breaks out at a Grand Forks apartment building. KVRR reports the two injured were taken to Altru Hospital. Their conditions are not known. Firefighters got the call to the 18-unit building about 2:30 a.m. Sunday. Crews arrived to find smoke and fire coming from the building. All residents were evacuated. Firefighters were on the scene for several hours. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Tuesday, February 18th 2020

Associated Press North Dakota News

ELECTION 2020-ARMSTRONG

Staunch Trump ally Armstrong aims to tackle practical issues

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A freshman congressman from North Dakota who spent much of his first term defending President Donald Trump during impeachment hearings says he wants to return to Washington and work on practical issues. Republican Rep. Kelly Armstrong formally announced his re-election bid Monday by telling supporters in Fargo he'll work with Democrats on some issues, like prescription drug prices, immigration and criminal justice reform. The state's lone House member says he won't budge on support for gun rights and opposition to abortion and federal regulations that would stifle North Dakota industry like energy and agriculture.

APARTMENT FIRE-GRAND FORKS

2 injured in Grand Forks apartment fire

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — Two people are hurt and a number of people are displaced after a fire breaks out at a Grand Forks apartment building. KVRR reports the two injured were taken to Altru Hospital. Their conditions are not known. Firefighters got the call to the 18-unit building about 2:30 a.m. Sunday. Crews arrived to find smoke and fire coming from the building. All residents were evacuated. Firefighters were on the scene for several hours. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

AIRLINE BOARDINGS

Commercial airline boardings up nearly 12% in North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State officials say passenger boardings at North Dakota's eight commercial service airports during January were up nearly 12% over the same month in 2019. Nearly 100,300 people boarded planes in Bismarck, Minot, Williston, Dickinson, Grand Forks, Fargo, Devils Lake and Jamestown during the month, according to the state Aeronautics Commission. All airports saw an increase in boardings except Grand Forks. Devils Lake had the largest increase at 28.8%, followed by Fargo at $17.9%. Dickinson had an increase of 13.5%, followed by Bismarck at 11.8%, Minot at 9% Williston at 5.4% and Jamestown at 3.9%.

BURNED HOME-BODY

Body found inside burned home near Grand Forks

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — Authorities say a body was found after a fire at a home near Grand Forks. The Grand Forks County Sheriff's Office says someone in the home called 911 shortly after 2 a.m. on Saturday to report the fire. Authorities say smoke and flames were coming out of the residence when deputies arrived. Sgt. Thomas Inocencio said a body was found inside the home after the fire was extinguished. Inocencio said an elderly woman lived at the home but authorities have not confirmed the victim’s identity. Inocencio said an autopsy is scheduled and the investigation continues.

APARTMENT ARSON-SENTENCE

Man accused of starting apartment fire gets probation

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A Grand Forks man accused of starting a fire that extensively damaged a Bismarck apartment building has been sentenced to 1 ½ years of probation after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors. Eduardo Rodriguez originally was charged with arson and two criminal mischief felonies. Burleigh County State’s Attorney Julie Lawyer says the arson charge was reduced to misdemeanor reckless endangerment when lab tests about the origin of the fire were not conclusive and Rodriguez’ substance abuse on the night of the fire made intent difficult to prove. The June 5 fire caused more than $300,000 in damage to the building.

OIL PRODUCTION-NORTH DAKOTA

Agency: North Dakota oil production drops 3% in December

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota regulators say oil production in December was down about 3% from November. The Department of Mineral Resources says the state produced an average of 1.47 million barrels of oil daily in December. That's down from 1.51 million barrels from the prior month. North Dakota also produced about 94.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas in December, up from 94 billion cubic feet in November. Statewide, companies flared 16% of all gas produced in December, above the 12% target. There were 56 drill rigs operating Friday, up one from the December average.

Tuesday, February 18th 2020

Associated Press North Dakota News

ELECTION 2020-ARMSTRONG

Staunch Trump ally Armstrong aims to tackle practical issues

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A freshman congressman from North Dakota who spent much of his first term defending President Donald Trump during impeachment hearings says he wants to return to Washington and work on practical issues. Republican Rep. Kelly Armstrong formally announced his re-election bid Monday by telling supporters in Fargo he'll work with Democrats on some issues, like prescription drug prices, immigration and criminal justice reform. The state's lone House member says he won't budge on support for gun rights and opposition to abortion and federal regulations that would stifle North Dakota industry like energy and agriculture.

APARTMENT FIRE-GRAND FORKS

2 injured in Grand Forks apartment fire

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — Two people are hurt and a number of people are displaced after a fire breaks out at a Grand Forks apartment building. KVRR reports the two injured were taken to Altru Hospital. Their conditions are not known. Firefighters got the call to the 18-unit building about 2:30 a.m. Sunday. Crews arrived to find smoke and fire coming from the building. All residents were evacuated. Firefighters were on the scene for several hours. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

AIRLINE BOARDINGS

Commercial airline boardings up nearly 12% in North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State officials say passenger boardings at North Dakota's eight commercial service airports during January were up nearly 12% over the same month in 2019. Nearly 100,300 people boarded planes in Bismarck, Minot, Williston, Dickinson, Grand Forks, Fargo, Devils Lake and Jamestown during the month, according to the state Aeronautics Commission. All airports saw an increase in boardings except Grand Forks. Devils Lake had the largest increase at 28.8%, followed by Fargo at $17.9%. Dickinson had an increase of 13.5%, followed by Bismarck at 11.8%, Minot at 9% Williston at 5.4% and Jamestown at 3.9%.

BURNED HOME-BODY

Body found inside burned home near Grand Forks

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — Authorities say a body was found after a fire at a home near Grand Forks. The Grand Forks County Sheriff's Office says someone in the home called 911 shortly after 2 a.m. on Saturday to report the fire. Authorities say smoke and flames were coming out of the residence when deputies arrived. Sgt. Thomas Inocencio said a body was found inside the home after the fire was extinguished. Inocencio said an elderly woman lived at the home but authorities have not confirmed the victim’s identity. Inocencio said an autopsy is scheduled and the investigation continues.

APARTMENT ARSON-SENTENCE

Man accused of starting apartment fire gets probation

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A Grand Forks man accused of starting a fire that extensively damaged a Bismarck apartment building has been sentenced to 1 ½ years of probation after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors. Eduardo Rodriguez originally was charged with arson and two criminal mischief felonies. Burleigh County State’s Attorney Julie Lawyer says the arson charge was reduced to misdemeanor reckless endangerment when lab tests about the origin of the fire were not conclusive and Rodriguez’ substance abuse on the night of the fire made intent difficult to prove. The June 5 fire caused more than $300,000 in damage to the building.

OIL PRODUCTION-NORTH DAKOTA

Agency: North Dakota oil production drops 3% in December

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota regulators say oil production in December was down about 3% from November. The Department of Mineral Resources says the state produced an average of 1.47 million barrels of oil daily in December. That's down from 1.51 million barrels from the prior month. North Dakota also produced about 94.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas in December, up from 94 billion cubic feet in November. Statewide, companies flared 16% of all gas produced in December, above the 12% target. There were 56 drill rigs operating Friday, up one from the December average.

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