Roughrider Roundup – January 24, 2022

Happy Monday!

Dear Fellow Republicans,

We wanted to provide you with a roundup of everything you might have missed from North Dakota’s great Republican leaders this past week. Please share with family and friends!

– Perrie Schafer, NDGOP Chairman

North Dakota

State of the State address rescheduled in February at Fargo Theatre
AM 1100 The Flag
The North Dakota Office of the Governor announced Friday he will deliver the rescheduled 2022 State of the State Address. North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum says the address will happen in Fargo at 10 a.m on February 16th at the Fargo Theatre. 

North Dakota officials approve ‘world’s largest carbon capture facility’
The North Dakota Industrial Commission has approved a carbon storage facility for Minnkota Power Cooperative’s Project Tundra. Dubbed the “world’s largest carbon capture facility,” the $1 billion project was made possible by an investment from the Milton R. Young Power Station in Oliver County, according to a news release from the commission. The station will capture 90% of its carbon dioxide, which amounts to 4 million metric tons annually, according to the commission. Gov. Doug Burgum serves as chairman of the three-member commission that also includes Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring.

Westhope’s Lyndsi Engstrom named to state education board
KX News
Lyndsi Engstrom, a member of Westhope’s school board, has been appointed to the North Dakota Board of Public School Education. Engstrom succeeds Maria Effertz Hanson, Velva, who resigned last month. Gov. Doug Burgum appointed Engstrom to complete Hanson’s six-year term, which ends June 30, 2024. Engstrom will represent Benson, Bottineau, Cavalier, McHenry, Pembina, Pierce, Ramsey, Renville, Rolette, Towner, and Walsh counties on the board.

PSC denies another extension for a wind farm lighting system
Prairie Public Newsroom
In its request for a waiver, Sunflower told the Commission it was waiting for FAA approval of another light mitigation system. That didn’t happen. So Sunflower asked for an extension of time to install the approved “Aircraft Detection Lighting System.” “Seventeen facilities using the same available vendors, and under the same deadline, were able to install ADLS by the Dec. 31st, 2021 deadline,” said PSC chairman Julie Fedorchak. “Sunflower had four years to install ADLS.”

ND taxable sales report shows continued growth
Knox Radio
North Dakota’s taxable sales and purchases for the third quarter of 2021 climbed  12.1% compared to the same timeframe in 2020. Taxable sales and purchases for July, August, and September of 2021 were $5.32 billion.Tax Commissioner Brian Kroshus says the upward trend in the third quarter shows economic growth.  “I am optimistic that the trend will continue, as the economy stabilizes from the impacts of the pandemic.”

Minot City Council approves intermodal agreement with Minot Area Chamber EDC
Minot Daily News
The City of Minot has agreed to loan $1.56 million to a subsidiary of the Minot Area Chamber EDC to purchase city-owned land used for an intermodal facility. The loan would be forgivable if employment projections and other stipulations in the five-year business incentive agreement are met…He referenced letters of support for the five-year agreement in letters from state Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and James Leiman, commissioner of the N.D. Department of Commerce.

Hettinger Public School violated open meeting law, AG determines
KX News
Hettinger Public School violated the open meetings law by not properly describing the subject of the executive session at the meeting, an inadequate announcement before the executive session began and by talking about topics outside of those announced, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said in a Jan. 19 opinion.

AG says unreasonable delay in Stark County providing requested records
KX News
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says the Stark County Board of Commissioners didn’t provide requested records within a reasonable time and failed to communicate with the requester in a Jan. 19 opinion. On Oct. 27, 2020, the requester asked Stark County for records concerning finalist applications for a human resources position. After receiving no response, the requester sent a reminder 13 days later, according to Stenehjem.

Howe announces run for secretary of state
Howe is a Republican from Casselton who lives in West Fargo and works as a managing partner of Howe Seed Farms. He has served in the House of Representatives for District 22 since the 2017 legislative session. Incumbent Al Jaeger, who will retire at the end of his term in 2022, will exit the office as the second-longest serving secretary of state in North Dakota history.

NDSU professor Mark Strand tells of plans for term on ND State Health Council
NDSU Spectrum
Appointed by North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, NDSU’s Mark Strand, a professor in the School of Pharmacy and the Department of Public Health at NDSU, will serve a three-year term on the North Dakota State Health Council. The council establishes standards, rules and regulations necessary for the maintenance of public health and monitors the quality of health care in North Dakota. It serves as the North Dakota Department of Health’s governing and advisory body.

ND Grain Dealers Association Reviews Updates to ND Grain Regulations
Red River Farm Network
A measure approved in the 2021 state legislative session gives the agriculture commissioner more discretion of who gets grain licenses. North Dakota Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring outlined the changes in a townhall at the North Dakota Grain Dealers Association Convention.

Audit petitioners announce they have enough signatures to force a state audit of Williston Basin School District
Audit petitioners in Williston say they have enough signatures to make State Auditor Josh Gallion in charge of an audit of the Williston Basin School District. With more than 900 signatures recorded out of the required 707, organizers say they expect to turn in the petition to the state later this week. Once it is finalized, petitioner Dawn Hollingsworth says the auditor’s office will take control of any ongoing audits and proceed with their own investigation of the district. She also says she believes this audit will provide unbiased answers as to the state of the district’s financials.

North Dakota to appeal ruling in royalty dispute with oil company
Grand Forks Herald
The state of North Dakota will appeal a ruling rendered last year that favored an oil company in a longstanding dispute over old royalty payments, Land Commissioner Jodi Smith told Forum News Service. A western North Dakota judge ruled in favor of Newfield Exploration and against the state in October, but the three-page judgment in the extremely complex and potentially precedent-setting case left major questions unanswered. The Board of University and School Lands, which includes Gov. Doug Burgum and four other statewide elected officials, recently decided to appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court, Smith said.

Newly appointed tax commissioner to run in 2022 election
Less than a month after he was appointed North Dakota tax commissioner, Brian Kroshus said he plans to run for the post in the 2022 election. Kroshus, a Republican, was appointed tax commissioner by Gov. Doug Burgum and started on Jan. 4. Kroshus previously served as a member of the Public Service Commission.

Another push to crack down on robocalls
Knox Radio
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has joined a bipartisan group of attorneys general in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt measures to help stem the tide of foreign-based illegal robocalls. Stenehjem says every day his office receives reports from victims of these scam calls.  According to Stenehjem when consumers unwittingly respond to the calls they may lose thousands of dollars.

Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program extended through 2034
Prairie Public Newsroom
The U-S Interior Department has extended the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program through the year 2034. In North Dakota, the program is used to reclaim old underground coal mines. At times, sinkholes have developed because of those mines. The Public Service Commission is responsible for abandoned mine reclamation. Commissioner Randy Christmann said the extension is good news. Christmann said North Dakota’s abandoned mine lands program has worked very well.

North Dakota beekeeping business to serve top US honey states
The Bismarck Tribune
North Dakota leads the nation in honey production, and together with Montana and South Dakota produced nearly half of all U.S. honey in 2019, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. The project was backed by local and state incentive programs. It is expected to create 12 full-time jobs. “As the No. 1 honey producer in the nation, North Dakota is a fitting hub for beekeeping supplies and is home to many residents who rely on our state’s ability to remain a competitive leader in the honey market,“ North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said.

Washington, D.C.

“We got it all” – FM Diversion receives full funding from federal government
Prairie Public Newsroom
The Fargo-Moorhead Diversion project is now fully funded, and Cass County Commission Chairman Chad Peterson says he could hardly believe the news. Peterson serves on the FM Diversion Authority. He says when Senator John Hoeven called to tell him about it, he was blown away. “Senator Hoeven said, ‘Chad, what do you think the number is?’ And I said, ‘Sir, I’m hopeful that it’s in excess of a hundred million, but I’ll take whatever you’ve got. It’s far more than I expect, but I’m hopeful.’ And he said, ‘We’ve got it all.’ I said, ‘We got $180 million? I can’t hardly believe it!’ And he said, ‘No, Chad. We got it ALL.’ I said, ‘Is there any way they can take it back?!”

North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer speaks in support of March for Life
AM 1100 The Flag
North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer is speaking in support of pro-life demonstrators taking part in Friday’s March for Life in Washington D.C. “I’ve always promised the people of North Dakota that I would fight for life at all stages and I will always fulfill that promise. This is an issue of women’s rights and it’s one of the most important issues of our day, perhaps the most important,” said Cramer. 

Last hurdle for Coal Creek sale cleared and more things to know in energy this week
The Williston Herald
Sen. Kevin Cramer highlighted the Bakken in recent remarks at the nation’s Capitol, where he pressed Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve nominee Lael Brainard on her views when it comes to the Federal Reserves role in energy and climate. “The Bakken is cash-starved quite honestly and some of that is because of the signals they’re getting from banks and the banks are getting from others that investing in oil production is persona non grata. Now the demand is going up, the supply is being held down by both rhetoric and policy. Most of it is not your policies, but the President’s,” Cramer said.

Cramer meets with Ukrainian President Zelensky
Cramer traveled to Ukraine with six other U.S. Senators in a bipartisan effort to demonstrate the United States’ commitment to freedom in Ukraine. Cramer says the U.S. delegation’s goal was to send a strong message to Russian president Vladimir Putin. “The mission was basically to demonstrate to Ukraine’s leadership, the Ukrainian people, and of course Vladimir Putin and Russia, that the United States, including the United States Senate, including members of both political parties from various parts of the country, stand united in their opposition to Russian aggression and in support of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people and their love of freedom,” said Cramer.

Cramer optimistic after visiting North Dakota farmer in Ukrainian prison
Sen. Kevin Cramer says there’s cause for optimism following his meeting with a North Dakota farmer being held for an alleged assassination plot against a member of the Ukrainian president’s cabinet. Kurt Groszhans of Ashley is in a Kyiv prison.  He’s been charged with attempted murder, attempted extortion and attempted kidnapping.

‘Build Back Better’ Hit a Wall, but Climate Action Could Move Forward
The New York Times
Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota said he preferred solutions like support for technologies to capture carbon dioxide from the air and it store it underground. The Build Back Better Act does include billions of dollars for research and development of so-called “carbon capture,” a technology that is not in use at any commercial scale because it is prohibitively expensive. Mr. Cramer recently joined with former President Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, in calling for the United States and Europe to impose a carbon fee on imported goods as part of “a trans-Atlantic climate and trade initiative.”

Federal funds of $61 million designated to Minot flood protection
Minot Daily News
A federal contribution of $61.45 million toward flood protection in Minot and the Souris River Valley has been secured, Sen. John Hoeven, R-ND, announced Wednesday. Hoeven reported he worked with the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, Shalanda Young, to secure the funds from money appropriated by Congress for infrastructure. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, received the funds to complete phase 4, the Maple Diversion Channel and levees north of Minot, from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Plan approved by Congress. Completion of the Maple Diversion will tie the previous three phases together and complete flood protection for 60% of residents.

GOP pushes Germany to stop Nord Stream 2 over Russia’s threat to invade Ukraine
The Washington Examiner
“I think passing something is better than passing nothing. I think passing Menendez instead of Rubio is not as good as passing Rubio. That said, I think if we can get the two parties together, and we ought to work on it now, and we ought to work on it hard, and we ought to work on it fast,” Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota said at the press conference.

GOP senators say it’s high time to ‘bloody’ Putin’s nose, call for unified action
Fox News
Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., described the White House meeting as an “instructive and construction discussion.” “I don’t think we surprised the president or Mr. Sullivan or anybody in the administration with what we said. Quite honestly we listened as much as we spoke,” he told Fox News Digital. “We want to have strong bipartisan sanctions,” he continued. “But…enough has been done to punch back a little bit. Right now Vladimir Putin is saying ‘thank you Mr. President but words are cheap’ and it’s time to demonstrate some action.”

USDA awards $875,000 to help ND producers cover costs of federal conservation compliance
Minot Daily News
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., recently announced the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) awarded $875,000 to North Dakota Agricultural Mitigation (NDAM), Inc., a partnership between six North Dakota commodity groups that helps agriculture producers cover the costs of establishing wetland banks to meet federal conservation compliance requirements.

Supreme Court to hear Ted Cruz challenge to campaign finance law
Roll Call
A group of five Republican senators — Roy Blunt of Missouri, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota and Cindy Hyde-Smith and Roger Wicker of Mississippi — told the justices that the limit is “a significant restriction on one of the most important sources for campaign funding.” The Texas Republican’s lawsuit brings the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act — also known as the McCain-Feingold law for its principal sponsors, the late Sen. John McCain and former Sen. Russ Feingold — back to the high court, which has been sharply divided along ideological lines over the past two decades as it struck down as unconstitutional other provisions of that major 2002 law.

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