We’ll See You In Court

At the end of the meeting between Meridian Energy Group executives and the North Dakota Public Service Commission a couple weeks ago, Commission President Randy Christmann pretty much told William Prentice, Meridian CEO and the man who wants to build an oil refinery next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, that the next time they meet…
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Merry Christmas, And Billy Peeble, One More Time

It’s Saturday of Christmas weekend, and it feels like it’s Christmas Eve. If it seems like Christmas falling on a Monday (and Christmas Eve on a Sunday) seems unusual, it’s because it hasn’t happened for a while.  Because of a quirk in the calendar (a few leap years) we’ve gone 11 years without a Monday Christmas, the last…
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Some Questions For The Refinery People

NDCC 49-22.1-02  “Statement of policy. The legislative assembly finds the construction of energy conversion facilities . . . affects the environment and the welfare of the citizens of this state. It is necessary to ensure the location, construction, and operation of energy conversion facilities . . . will produce minimal adverse effects on the environment and…
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Musical Chairs Leaves Land Commissioner Without A Job

I really thought (and kind of hoped), when I read in the paper Friday morning that the State Land Board had said good-bye to its long-time North Dakota State Land Commissioner, Lance Gaebe, that the next story I would read about him would be his appointment as director of the USDA Rural Development office in…
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Refinery Near National Park Gets Preliminary Okay

Today’s announcement by the North Dakota Department of Health that it is preparing to issue an Air Quality Permit to Meridian Energy to build the Davis Oil Refinery three miles from Theodore Roosevelt National Park should come as no surprise. Once again, the state of North Dakota rolls over to the energy industry, but this…
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Dan Rather: I See America

I’m wiping tears from my cheeks as  I copy Dan Rather’s post from his Facebook page today. When I see Dan Rather, I see America. I See America By Dan Rather When the time comes, and I hope it comes soon, to bury this era of moral rot and the defiling of our communal, social,…
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Anybody Want To Have A Fundraiser? Here’s A List.

This one is for North Dakotans, and those who follow North Dakota politics. I received an e-mail this week from some thoughtful person who thought I might be interested in a fundraising event for State Representative Al Carlson, the Republican Legislative leader. Turns out I wasn’t interested in the fundraiser, but I was interested in…
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Gov. Burgum Needs To Take Responsibility For His Own Actions, Not Pass It Off On A Commission

I don’t think North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has a disingenuous bone in his body. But sometimes political naivete can make someone appear disingenuous (actually, my definition of disingenuous is “fake naivete”). There’s still a bit of naivete in Burgum. The transition from the business world to government is not an easy one. He’s still…
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Halek Sentenced: Probation And A Halfway House

My old friend Darrell Dorgan and I decided to sit in on the sentencing hearing for Jason Halek this morning. A couple of old, retired newsmen, we both went there thinking we were going to see the full measure of the law applied to a Texas con man responsible for one of the biggest pollution…
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Maybe The Halek Case Is Over. Maybe.

If everything goes as planned Monday morning (which would be unusual—nothing much has gone as planned in this case) Jason Halek will walk into the federal courthouse in Bismarck tomorrow morning as a free man, and walk out—figuratively, if not literally—in handcuffs, headed for a federal prison. You’ve read about Halek here many times before.…
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