Shrouded in a fog
Geoff Simon's morning view on his way in to clear up the day's legislation.

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Wind Tax Distribution Bill Would Cost WDEA Counties 

Legislation under consideration in the North Dakota Senate would cost two WDEA member counties hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in lost tax revenue associated with wind generation.

Rep. Jessica Unruh, R-Beulah, explains how her bill would                                                                                                           re-allocate the taxes paid by large wind farms.                                          

                                                                                                                Click here to read the details

WDEA Top Legislative Priorities Introduced

A summary of legislation of significant importance to the interests of WDEA members was introduced in the North Dakota House of Representatives this week. Full summary is here.  Links to the bills included in the full summary. 

At the top of the list is HB 1366, which would adjust the Hub City funding formula to keep pace with expected growth and meet the need to finance existing debt in Williston, Dickinson and Minot.  

WDEA will also be a strong advocate of HB 1320, legislation that would enhance the operation of WDEA’s  Uniform Truck Permit System.  

HB 1320 also directs the ND Department of Transportation through its e-permit system for state highways to “allow for the most efficient routing of oversized or overweight loads through the state highway system and take into consideration the impacts on city, county, township, and state roads.”   

The association will also lend its support to HB 1368, which would allow a county board of equalization to appeal a decision by the state board of equalization to reduce the valuation of locally assessed taxable property. 

Rep. Don Longmuir, R-Stanley, is sponsor of the appeals bill. Click here to listen to the reason he introduced the bill.

Kalk leaves PSC for EERC

North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Brian P. Kalk has accepted the position of  Director of Energy Systems Development with the Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) in Grand Forks, N.D.
"Now more than ever we need to ensure our nation is able to be energy secure while conserving our precious natural resources. I'm excited to be joining a superb team of professionals and supporting the vision of the EERC which is  To lead the world in developing solutions to energy and environmental challenges  ," Kalk said.  "It has been an honor to serve as your Public Service Commissioner for the past eight years."

Bismarck, Jamestown and Devils Lake see more airline boardings; huge drops in western ND boardings

Bismarck, Jamestown, and Devils Lake were the three airports within the state that had record breaking passenger numbers in 2016.  The communities of Minot, Dickinson, and Williston posted the largest decline in passenger numbers which can be directly contributed to the decline of the workforce in the Western North Dakota oil fields.

Click here for ND Aeronautics Commission story and chart

Legislature debates: Who owns the mineral rights under the Missouri River and Lake Sakakawea?

Senate Bill 2134, sponsored by Senator Kelly Armstrong (R-Dickinson) is in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committe.  WDEA Executive Director Geoff Simon said, "It carries a huge fiscal note, $213 million." 

Member's Voice: McLean County went through a tough 2016, better times ahead in 2017

Thanks to a hiring freeze, a penny-pinching staff and the postponement capital expenditures, McLean County made it through 2016 with a $900,000 short fall. 

McLean County Auditor Leslie Korgel said 2017 will be impacted by several factors including the 2017 Legislature. He said he and other county officials are watching to see how state programs will be paid for, and whether those expenses will be passed on to counties.

Member's Voice-McLean County overview of 2016 and 2017

Statoil gives $50,000 to STEM in North Dakota 

Statoil is working with Northwest North Dakota (NWND) Community Foundation as the first oil and gas company to support the newly established non-profit organization. Itis makinga $50,000 contribution inaugurating the Statoil North Dakota Charitable Fund.The fund will be managed by the Foundation and will initially support investments in K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)-related education.

Quick connect
Other news of interest

Upcoming Events
January 23, 2017
 Southwest Night at the Legislature
Ramkota, Bismarck

January 23, 2017
WDEA Executive Committee meeting

February 20, 21, 2017
5th Annual Reclamation Conference
Dickinson, ND

March 7, 2017
North Dakota Petroleum Council Legislative Social
  BSC NECE, Bismarck

May 2-4, 2017
Williston Basin Petroleum Conference Regina, SK, Canada

Oil prices and rig count
January 20, 2015

WTI Crude: $53.30
                                                   Brent Crude: $55.46
                                                 Natural Gas: $3.20

              North Dakota  Active Drills: 38 (Up 2)        1/20/16 -- 48 rigs

Geoff Simon
Editor/Executive Director

Mike Kopp, Editor
Mike Kopp, Mykuhls Photography, Photographs
Western Dakota Energy Association