Author Archives: Rob Port

Wind turbines abut a traditional farm July 7, 2014, south of Wilton, N.D. Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service

The Wind Industry’s Arrogance Comes Around to Bite Them as the Public Service Commission Says a Rare “No”

The Wind Industry’s Arrogance Comes Around to Bite Them as the Public Service Commission Says a Rare “No”

North Dakota’s Public Service Commission has shot down a wind farm siting permit requested by NextEra Energy for a project in Burke County (north of Powers Lake). One commissioner described the decision as “historic.” The most important line from my colleague John Hageman’s report on the decision is this (emphasis mine): Public Service Commissioners unanimously

Plain Talk: Defense Attorney Says a North Dakota Drug Testing Law Is Unconstitutional

The state Legislature requires some drug defendants to be drug tested while out on bail and awaiting trial, but this requirement has become a real problem. Defense attorney Mark Friese of the Vogel Law Firm spoke about it on this episode of Plain Talk. Some defendants can’t afford the testing, Friese said, and end up

Print Column: North Dakota Is Fun, Despite What Some Dumb Spam “Study” Says

MINOT, N.D. ⁠— A humble request made to my fellow members of the news media: Please stop creating spam headlines for companies like WalletHub or NerdWallet. These companies send out press releases touting “studies” or “surveys” which are usually some ranking of states or communities. Local journalists, always hungry for content in an age where

Sen. Erin Oban, D-Bismarck, front, talks about specific issues on the 2019 legislative agenda for the state Democratic-NPL Party during a press conference at the state Capitol in Bismarck. Also commenting were, from left, Sen. Joan Heckaman, D-New Rockford; Sen. Tim Mathern, D-Fargo; Rep. Joshua Boschee, D-Fargo; and Sen. Kathy Hogen, D-Fargo. Mike McCleary / Bismarck Tribune

Losers Don’t Get to Be Choosers, Democrats

The Legislature has been organizing its interim committees of late, and a tradition for Democrats during this time is to spend a bunch of time whining about committee assignments. This time around, state Rep. Karla Rose Hanson (D-Fargo) is insinuating that Republicans purposefully excluded Democrats, and women specifically, from appointments to chair interim committees: You

Crews clean up leftover camping supplies and other debris at the Oceti Sakowin protest camp before a Wednesday deadline to vacate in Cannon Ball, N.D., Feb. 21, 2017. (Nick Cote/Copyright 2017 The New York Times)

What Have the Anti-Oil Activists Ever Done for Us?

A few recent headlines in the regional media are interesting, given their juxtaposition. Our state’s battle to be reimbursed for the heavy costs of handling the violent and often unlawful #NoDAPL protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline continues. “North Dakota’s congressional delegation is calling on President Donald Trump’s administration to address the state’s year-old request

Cultivator Hunter Rogness prunes fan leaves from marijuana plants in the Leafline Labs Cottage Grove grow center, Feb. 21, 2019. Scott Takushi / St. Paul Pioneer Press

New Study Suggests Legal Marijuana Doesn’t Reduce Opioid Problems

Back in 2014 a study was released suggesting a strong connection between legal marijuana and decreased overdoses from opioid abuse. It looked at data from 1999 to 2010, and found that states that ended marijuana prohibition to one degree or another had an average of 25 percent lower rate of opioid overdoses. What’s more, that

In an undated photo, a urine test sample container. (Johnny Tergo/Copyright 2019 The New York Times)

What Good Is Drug Testing if Defendants Can’t Afford It?

North Dakota state law requires that defendants in drug cases be tested on a regular basis, as a part of their bond agreements, to ensure they aren’t using. But what happens if they can’t afford it? Someone facing criminal charges probably finds themselves in a precarious employment situation, at best, and drug testing can run

Plain Talk: North Dakota State Is “Being Used as a Mouthpiece” by Planned Parenthood Says State Senator

On this episode of Plain Talk, state Senator Janne Myrdal (R-Edinburg) talks about the objections she and other lawmakers share over North Dakota State University partnering with Planned Parenthood. “I believe in academic freedom,” Myrdal told me. But she added that NDSU is “being used as a mouthpiece” by a group with a partisan political

State Auditor Josh Gallion presents his Governor's Travel and Use of State Resources report to members of the Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee on Wednesday at the state Capitol in Bismarck. Bismarck Tribune photo

Legislative Leadership Flip Flops and Embraces Move to Gut State Auditor’s Powers

In the closing days of the 2019 legislative session an amendment was slipped into the budget for state Auditor Josh Gallion’s office. The amendment was approved by bipartisan majorities in both chambers – only a small faction of Republicans in the state House voted against it – and signed by Governor Doug Burgum. It forces

The Great River Energy Coal Creek Station coal plant near the Falkirk mine outside of Underwood, N.D., is the largest power plant in North Dakota. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

North Dakota Democratic Party: “Coal Is No Longer a Viable Source of Energy.”

In the Minot Daily News over the weekend was a remarkable letter from a leader in the North Dakota Democratic-NPL which derided our state’s coal industry. Brad Magnuson, chairman of his party’s Renewable Energy Caucus, says “Long term, coal is not a viable source of energy.” “Short term, until renewables become exclusive in North Dakota, coal is