AP NEWS

Judge: Minerals ownership law constitutional

February 28, 2019

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A judge has ruled a North Dakota law that defines oil and gas ownership under Lake Sakakawea is constitutional.

But, East Central Judicial District Judge John Irb determined the 2017 law requires the state to refund too much money. Rep. Marvin Nelson and former gubernatorial candidate Paul Sorum and others challenged the law and sought to prevent the state Board of University and School Lands from “giving away” up to $2 billion in oil and gas mineral rights in coming years.

The Bismarck Tribune reports attorneys for the state said the law is not a giveaway, but a process to define the boundary of the state’s mineral interests. The legislation clarifies ownership of minerals under Lake Sakakawea through a review of the historic ordinary high water mark of the Missouri River as it existed before the Garrison Dam.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com