BISMARCK, N.D. — The North Dakota Supreme Court has reversed a district court ruling in a case involving mineral rights taken by the state for construction of a dam that created Lake Sakakawea.
Attorneys for the William Wilkinson family argued that state’s actions were unconstitutional. But Northwest District Court Judge Paul Jacobson ruled last year that the state owned the property and mineral interests.
The Supreme Court on Thursday reversed Jacobson’s ruling and returned the case to the lower court.
The state’s high court says the district court must now take into account a new law passed this year by the Legislature that’s intended to clarify disputed ownership of minerals under the Missouri River reservoir.
The law limits the state’s mineral claims under Lake Sakakawea to a smaller area than it had claimed.