Say Anything

North Dakota’s oil boom is over

by Rob Port | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | January 1st, 2015

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 up the property they were renting.

Whatever the outcome, the struggles of the Bakken Club and its surreal business model - relying as…

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​More oversight for university donations, please

by Rob Port | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | December 24th, 2014

During the 2013 legislative session lawmakers authorized $29 million to match donations to the state’s institutions of higher education. The funds come in the form of grants, and every $1 in taxpayer dollars must be matched by $2 in privately-raised dollars.

Supposedly it’s all been a rousing success.

I’m dubious. Raising a lot of money for the universities is all well and good, but how is that money being spent?

Many, including this observer, are growing weary of being told that…

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​Environmentalists move the goalposts on radioactive waste

by Rob Port | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | December 17th, 2014

Very often I get the feeling that environmental groups care far less about the environment than they do about advancing certain political agendas. Case in point, the battle over NORM (or naturally occurring radioactive material) which is a byproduct of oil development in North Dakota.

Calling anything “radioactive” makes it sound really scary, but the waste produced in North Dakota’s oil fields (mostly consisting of filter socks) is relatively benign.

But that’s not to say it’s…

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​Spending shifts aren’t tax relief

by Rob Port | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | December 12th, 2014

During his budget address earlier this week Governor Jack Dalrymple proposed a state takeover of local social service spending.

This isn’t a new idea. The Legislature actually authorized the counties taking over social services back in the 1980s when the state was broke. Last session the state House defeated the bill – HB1233 – on a relatively narrow 41-49 vote.

Today the mill levy for social services represents about $52.4 million in revenues around the state (that number from…

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