Last Word

The bad guys aren’t in jail . . . yet

by Jim Fuglie | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | August 16th, 2017

A few months ago I wrote about the long, strange saga of Jason Halek, the fellow who dumped 800,000 gallons of poisonous oilfield brine down an abandoned oil well south of Dickinson. Back in April of this year, he pleaded guilty to three felony violations of the U.S Safe Drinking Water Act for those crimes he committed in late 2012 and early 2013.

Jason was scheduled to be sentenced to 24-30 months in a federal prison on July 31.

Well, July 31 has come and gone, and no sentencing yet.…

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Refinery company to PSC: screw you!

by Jim Fuglie | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | August 5th, 2017

Of all the sleazy companies to show up in North Dakota’s oil patch in the nearly ten years since the Bakken Boom began, the sleaziest of them all has to be Meridian Energy, the company proposing to build an oil refinery called the Davis Refinery just three miles from Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I wrote about them a few months ago. Here’s an update.

Normally, when a company wants to build a large energy plant, like a refinery, it applies for a siting permit from the North Dakota…

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The newest bridge over the Little Missouri State Scenic River

by Jim Fuglie | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | August 5th, 2017

For the last 50 years or so, there have been just five places where you can drive your car across a bridge over the Little Missouri State Scenic River: In Marmarth on U.S. Highway 12, on Pacific Avenue in the city of Medora, on I-94 just north of Medora (two bridges, one going each way), on U.S. Highway 85 south of Watford City (the Long-X Bridge) and on ND Highway 22 north of Killdeer (the Lost Bridge).

The Billings County Commissioners have made news for the last ten years trying to…

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​What I have learned working alongside new Americans

by Dawn Duncan | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | August 2nd, 2017

When I moved to this community 23 years ago from Dallas, Texas, I knew I would have much to learn. I was coming to a part of my country that was completely different from what I had known when it came to geography, climate, and ethnicity. What I did not expect was how much I would learn from people who immigrated here from much farther away and from a wide variety of cultures.

My education in what “we the people” truly means began only after I became a teacher. Prior to then, I did…

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​The three stooges of American dictatorship

by Charlie Barber | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | July 19th, 2017

…the struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” – Milan Kundera

“It may seem kind of bleak to say that the future of our planet rests in large part on the consciences of Republican politicians. But it kind of does, at least right now. The thing is, like me, many of my colleagues have grandchildren. And grandchildren can be a powerful motivator, even if they don’t have a Super PAC.”

– Senator Al Franken (D-MN)

It is difficult to have the…

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​The Little Missouri State Scenic River is in trouble again

by Jim Fuglie | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | June 28th, 2017

The river lost most of its scenic protection in June, when Gov. Doug Burgum reversed course and joined the members of his State Water Commission in opening the entire river to industrial water development.

In May, Burgum declared upstream areas of the state’s only official State Scenic River—the areas surrounding the three units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park—off limits to industrial water use, and told State Engineer Garland Erbele to “immediately review, modify and make…

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​Health Department Shelves Meridian’s Permit Application

by Jim Fuglie | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | June 21st, 2017

The North Dakota Department of Health has called “Bullsh*t!” on Meridian Energy’s application to construct its Davis Oil Refinery three miles from Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

In fact, in a strongly-worded letter to Meridian, Terry O’Clair, Director of the Division of Air Quality, says he has actually stopped the review of the application until Meridian sends the Department information to prove the numbers are accurate that they use to justify building so close to a national…

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​What does the health insurance marketplace look like in North Dakota?

by Jon Godfread | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 17th, 2017

With the recent passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) by the U.S. House of Representatives, it is important to have an honest and truthful discussion regarding what the AHCA is and what it is not.

But before we get into that, what does the health insurance marketplace look like in North Dakota?

There are a few different areas in which North Dakotans currently receive their health coverage – an employer, the government (Medicare, Medicaid or the VA) or the individual…

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​The Trump/Sessions “Department of Injustice”

by Charlie Barber | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 17th, 2017

“Whatever the learning or acuteness of a great lawyer, our chief respect for him depends on our belief that, set in a judge’s seat, he will strive to judge justly, come of it what may. Could we suppose that he would take bribes, and use his acuteness and legal knowledge to give plausibility to iniquitous decisions, no degree of intellect would win for him our respect. Nothing will win it, short of our tacit conviction, that in all important acts of his life justice is first with…

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​Fracking and the Little Missouri River

by Jim Fuglie | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | April 19th, 2017

The North Dakota State Water Commission has violated state law more than 600 times in recent years by issuing permits for industrial use of water (read: fracking oil wells) from the Little Missouri State Scenic River. Employees there claim they didn’t know they weren’t supposed to do that. I believe them. But that’s no excuse. More on that in a minute. First, a little history lesson.

Let’s travel back in time 42 years. The 1975 North Dakota Legislature passed a bill that…

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A few months ago I wrote about the long, strange saga of Jason Halek, the fellow who dumped 800,000 gallons of poisonous oilfield brine down an abandoned oil well south of Dickinson. Back in April of this year, he pleaded guilty to…