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 KHRT ND News

KHRT ND NEWS - THURSDAY - 07/17/14 - PM EDITION

North Dakota schools can look forward to a big increase in money from a state trust fund in the next two years......

    BISMARCK, N.D. - North Dakota schools can look forward to a big increase in money from a state trust fund in the next two years.  State school superintendent Kirsten Baesler says payments from the Common Schools Trust Fund will be going up 57 percent.

    Right now the fund is paying $130 million to schools over two years. That amount is expected to increase to $204 million when North Dakota's new budget is done next spring.

    The trust fund gets money from oil, gas and coal leases. It also gets income from leasing state land for cattle grazing. The fund has grown from $642 million 10 years ago to about $3 billion today.

    Baesler is a member of the state Land Board. The board oversees investments in the trust fund. It has five members and is headed by Gov. Jack Dalrymple.  Baesler says the oil boom has helped the fund grow - and it has also gotten good investment results.

    Money from the fund is part of a bigger state package of education aid. North Dakota's current budget for aid to local schools is one-point-eight-four billion dollars.

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     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt says a record $112 million deposit will be put in North Dakota's oil tax savings account.  Schmidt says this month's transfer brings the balance of the account to about $2.2 billion.  She says the monthly deposits have ranged from $32 million to $93 million until this month.
 
     The Legacy Fund gets 30 percent of the state's oil tax collections. The money can't be touched before 2017 and it would still take a two-thirds vote of the Legislature for the state to dip into the fund.
 
     North Dakota voters approved the fund in 2010. It received its first deposit of $34.3 million in September 2011.  The fund has been growing faster than anticipated because of rising North Dakota oil production and high prices.

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     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Cleanup is expected to continue in the coming weeks at the site of a saltwater spill in North Dakota that rivals a 2006 breach believed to be the worst environmental disaster in state history.
 
     The estimated 24,000 barrels spill on the Crestwood Midstream Partners LP pipeline was discovered July 8 near Mandaree on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. It is one of the biggest oilfield spills in North Dakota history.
 
     The 2006 incident involved a pipeline that spewed 24,000 barrels of saltwater into a creek, aquifer and pond near the town of Alexander.  State Water Quality Director Karl Rockerman says cleanup efforts are still ongoing at the Alexander site.

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     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota attorney general's office has shut down two contractors after surprise inspections on the oil patch.  The Williston Herald reports that Wednesday's tour found an additional seven contractors in the Williston area who could be disciplined depending upon further investigation.  The inspectors visited 33 sites and inspected 131 contractors.
 
     Parrell Grossman, director of the attorney general's consumer protection division, says contractor licensing and registration compliance is a "significant issue" in western North Dakota.  Grossman says the violations could result in projects being shut down for three days to a week or more.

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     DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) - A Dakotas hospital is adding an air ambulance service based in the state's oil patch.  Sanford AirMed is expected to be operating in Dickinson by late fall. It will feature a King Air B200 fixed wing aircraft that can travel 1,500 miles and land on a short runway. The plane can carry two patients and five critical care attendants.
 
     Sanford AirMed will replace a void left by Texas-based Med-Trans, a national provider of air transport services that is closing its office in Dickinson.  Sanford Health is based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Fargo, North Dakota.

 

   (Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

 

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