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Author Archives: Rob Port

By Rob Port | Google+ Rob Port is the editor of http://sayanythingblog.com/. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

Time to call them Obama trains

There was another oil train derailment this week – this time near Galena, Illinois –  producing another explosion and smoke cloud that’s being plastered all over the media. It was the third such derailment in three weeks. Left-wing activists have taken to using the term “bomb trains” and are now blaming public officials for not seeking regulatory retribution for the ...

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Punishing the good guys won’t fix flaring problem

The North Dakota Industrial Commission – the triumvirate of statewide elected officials which oversees, among other things, oil and gas development in the state – has set goals for reducing flaring, or the burning off of excess natural gas produced during oil development. Companies which don’t hit those goals can be hit with a fine of up to $12,500 per ...

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How secure are ND’s pipelines and drilling sites?

A number of spills in North Dakota’s oil patch have got headlines recently, but at least one company is a little suspicious as to how they came to happen. “Hess spokesman John Roper said employees found wide-open valves on saltwater storage tanks on two well locations 3 miles apart,” the Bismarck Tribune reported. “We call that suspicious,” Roper told the ...

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Democrats fail to separate oil promotion from regulation

Over the last several years one of the favorite talking points of North Dakota Democrats is the idea that the state’s oil regulators are a bit too cozy with the oil industry. Specifically the Democrats gripe about the opening words of Chapter 38-08 of the North Dakota Century Code, relating to the regulation of oil and gas resources. It states: ...

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Dropping oil prices might mean better governance

For the first time in a long time North Dakota’s political leaders are going to be faced with difficult decisions when it comes to governing the state. “We don’t run the state on oil revenue,” Governor Jack Dalrymple told the editorial board of the Williston Herald in December. At the time he was trying to address skepticism of his executive ...

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Legislature should get a say in oil and gas rules

“Measure would void new North Dakota flaring, oil rules,” screams a headline from the Associated Press about Rep. Keith Kempenich’s bill to change the process by which oil regulations are passed by the Industrial Commission. That headline set up a scolding and typically intemperate editorial from the Fargo Forum which, as usual, seems to have only a superficial grasp of ...

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State regulators should bow to calls for audits

Rep. Kenton Onstad, a Democrat representing the Parshall area in North Dakota’s state House, has introduced a bill which would mandate an audit for the North Dakota Health Department as well as the Oil and Gas Division of the Industrial Commission. With the legislation Onstad is seeking to force an audit of the two state departments with the most oversight ...

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Will North Dakota follow Alaska in budget problems?

Alaska’s economy and state budget are based on oil. Due to a steady influx of oil revenues, the state has opted for no income tax and no sales tax. Not surprisingly, with oil revenues the state’s primary source of income, the recent free-fall in oil prices has not been good to America’s northernmost state, but is this a cautionary tale ...

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The end of North Dakota’s oil boom is here

The Williston Herald is reporting that the Bakken Club, a business which made national headlines by operating as an exclusive, members only club in a tiny western North Dakota town, has fallen on tough times. The club has been evicted by its landlord for allegedly failing to pay rent. The club’s owners, for their part, claim the landlord wasn’t keeping ...

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