MINOT, N.D. — If you took at face value some of the things Land Board Commissioner Jodi Smith has been telling the news media of late, you’d think a bunch of evil oil barons were out to get North Dakota’s children.
There is a dispute between Smith’s office and some oil companies over how royalty payments were calculated. The matter is currently before the courts in the form of two separate lawsuits.
One recent news report, featuring Smith’s talking points, would have us believe that “schools hang in the balance” while oil and gas companies refuse to pay their royalties to the state.
This is nonsense.