Williston Herald, Williston, Dec. 7, 2013
Banquet reveals how much oil industry benefits Williston
Many people who live in and around Williston bemoan the oil industry.
The businesses that have moved into the community are blamed for everything from increased rent prices and bad roads to the loss of scenery and traffic jams.
In many cases, the complaints are accurate. There is no doubt that the impacts of the oil boom have made it difficult on many in town.
But the industry has also had a very good impact that is often overlooked.
Recently, the American Petroleum Institute honored the best companies and individuals in the Williston Basin, and the rewards served as a reminder that the businesses and companies are trying hard to improve the communities they live in and the industry they work in.
Tervita received the Industry Innovation Award because the employees of Tervita work tirelessly to make improvements to the industry. Like many companies, Tervita works had to balance protecting the environment with making a profit in the energy field.
As an example, Tervita recently opened the Blue Buttes waste disposal site that uses the most recent engineering technology to protect the environment while giving oil companies a place to dispose of oilfield waste.
Energy Outreach Williston was honored with the Community Service Award. The organization came together because six oil companies — Statoil, Schlumberger, Halliburton, Oasis, Baker Hughes and Nabor — wanted to give back to the community.
In the last year, the companies have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars. But even more important, the employees of the companies have donated thousands of volunteer hours to clean up the community and to help nonprofits and other agencies succeed.
The API gave out two awards for outstanding achievement, one to Continental Resources and one to Monte Besler. Continental is the largest company in the Bakken, and it was honored for paving the way for others that followed.
Besler was honored for his willingness to help others, even competitors, find answers as they searched for oil.
Known as the Fracn8r, Besler has worked for 31 years in the Williston Basin, in the good and bad, and has always been willing to help anyone in need.
Continental Resources, Monte Besler, Tervita and Energy Outreach Williston are all deserving, and they serve as a reminder that the companies and men and women in the oil industry are working to make things better for us all.
Daily News, Wahpeton, Dec. 9, 2013
ND and MN display sound management
Through effective legislation and fiscal monitoring, the state of North Dakota has been showing extremely positive budget numbers for the past few years.
State government is running North Dakota with a huge surplus left to continue operations, giving residents property tax relief, maintaining a healthy reserve and investing in the future. During a time where many states were running with negative budgets, North Dakota has flourished.
An annual 24/7 Wall Street study looked at data on all states, ranking them on financial health, standard of living and government services to determine how each state is managed. The top five best-run states leads with North Dakota and rounds out to include Wyoming, Nebraska, Utah and Iowa. It was the first time North Dakota ranked as the best-run state in the 24/7 Wall Street study.
"This study recognizes that North Dakota's sound fiscal policies are working," Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. "We are in a strong position to provide tax relief, maintain a healthy reserve while also investing in our priorities."
Dalrymple said the study determines how well states are run by looking at fiscal management, taxes, exports and GDP growth by sectors, as well as quality of life components such as poverty, income, unemployment, high school graduation, crime and foreclosure rates. All of the best-run states had certain characteristics in common, including well-managed budgets, high education levels and low unemployment. The study also reports that each of the top 10 states has a perfect or near-perfect credit rating.
Across our eastern border, Minnesota is showing some positive results due to strong fiscal management.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton released the following statement regarding Minnesota's December Budget Forecast: "Today's new budget forecast, projecting an additional surplus of more than a billion dollars during the current biennium, is great news for Minnesota. The principal reason for this dramatic improvement is the stronger-than-expected growth of our state's economy.
"We have used our strong economic growth to pay back all of the $2.8 billion previously borrowed from our schools. Thanks to the insistence of the DFL majority in the House of Representatives, today's forecast will trigger the immediate repayment of the final 246 million dollars we owe our schools," Dalrymple said.
Who will benefit? First and foremost, the school districts across the state, the students and their parents and the programs that will continue. There is little downside in both states showing positive results through sound management practices.
The Bismarck Tribune, Bismarck, Dec. 9, 2013
Fort Lincoln view to be preserved
The decision to preserve the Missouri River viewshed at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, by not constructing a new campground adjacent to Cavalry Square, makes good sense. A new campground would get much use, that's true, but the price would be too high in the loss of the view from the high ground overlooking the bend in the Missouri River to the south
Planners from the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department, responding to citizen comment, made the right choice.
The original proposal for improvements at the popular park just south of Mandan called for building a 75-unit modern campground on the flats to the south of the Commissary and Custer House. Doing so would have compromised the view of the Missouri River, which is spectacular from the bluffs in that stretch of the river.
That had to be a hard choice, because the state park is a popular camping site for many people in the Bismarck-Mandan area.
Another good thing to come of the master plan is shifting use of 32 acres from the park to the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery.
State Parks Director Mark Zimmerman has it right, saying: "The Veterans Cemetery has become a special place in Bismarck and Mandan." Having the cemetery "annex" this property will double its size. The property transfer can be made without diminishing the park.
Park officials do intend to build a new park office and visitor center at the park entrance, and make improvements at the existing campground, which will mean
10 new sites for larger campers, as well as expanding and modernizing other sites. There will be additional emphasis on the natural world, as well as a continuation of the interpretation of Mandan Indian life and the Seventh Cavalry's time in North Dakota.
Of course, all of this must pass legislative review.
State Parks took over interpretation from the Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation about one year ago.
People sometimes wonder when they go to government planning meetings whether their voices are being heard. The response from State Parks in regard to Fort Lincoln suggests that, indeed, officials were listening. As a result of public comment, changes were made in the parks master plan. The system, it seems, can work.