The Dacotah Chapter includes everyone in the State of North Dakota. We're engaged in carrying out the Sierra Club's motto: Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet! 

Our current focus is a Flaring Campaign aimed to reduce flaring.

Wildlands enrich our lives.

When Lewis and Clark passed through North Dakota, it was a vast expanse of wild prairie teeming with wildlife. In the two hundred years since then, much of the state has been plowed under or taken over by towns and cities with their networks of highways, power lines,  railroads, and oil and gas development infrastructure. A few wild places still survive in North Dakota’s National Grasslands where you can experience the awe that Lewis and Clark felt. 

The very same river that Lewis and Clark used as a guide through the Northern Plains has now been dammed, channeled and tamed.  North Dakota is home to one stretch of the Missouri River that looks much like it did when Lewis and Clark traveled through this region.  There are vast cottonwood forests and spectacular wildlife on the 87 miles of the river known as the Garrison Reach.  This stretch is increasingly threatened as development grows around the cities of Washburn and Bismarck/Mandan. Dakotah Chapter is trying to preserve a bit of what is left by proposing a new state nature park on the banks of the Missouri just south of Bismarck.  

Today, the badlands and prairies of the Little Missouri River country give thousands of people what it gave to Theodore Roosevelt in the late 1800s, an exhilaration: "the beat of hardy life in our veins," and a responsibility "to preserve all the living creatures of prairie, and woodland, from wanton destruction."  However, these wild places are threatened by oil and gas development and off road vehicle use.

Only 32,000 acres of our national grasslands still qualify for wilderness status. It's just a little bit of land in this big state. We need to act now to ensure the survival of our wild places for future generations. In the 1964 Wilderness Act, Congress promised  "to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring source of wilderness." 

But today, 50 years later, that promise has not been kept in North Dakota. We have the opportunity now to go down in history as the Dakotans with the wisdom to fulfill that commitment and protect these wildlands. 

We need your help! Contact Dacotah Chapter of the Sierra Club today. We need volunteers to stand up for North Dakota’s wild places.

Upcoming events and outings 

Please contact Wayde in our office at 701-530-9288, wayde.schafer@sierraclub.org  for information on upcoming events and outings or click on the Meetup logo on the upper right of this page.

Sierra Club office. 311 N Mandan Street in Bismarck

Header image source: itpowersolutions.com

2015 ND Legislative summary

 

 

 

Summary: ND 64th Legislative Assembly – 2015

North Dakota’s 64th Legislative Assembly convened on Tuesday, January 6, 2015 and adjourned April 29, 2015. Dacotah Chapter’s goals for this legislative session were to introduce legislation to reduce flaring, secure funding for the proposed Missouri River Nature Park, and to stop selective bills that would harm the environment.

 During the session we worked with Senators Mathern, Triplett, and Dotzenrod and introduced two anti-flaring bills in the ND Senate (SB 2287, SB2343). We also worked with Senator Carlisle and Representative Martinson to secure funding in the ND Department of Parks and Recreation budget for Missouri River Nature Park.

 Below is a list of bills the Chapter actively worked on:

SB 2287 - Amended state law to reduce the amount of time an oil well is exempted from capturing flared natural gas from current 1-year to 90 days. SB 2287 was defeated in ND Senate. We attempted to add the language from SB 2287 to SB 2343 in the House Energy and Natural Resources committee. The amendment failed in committee.

 SB 2343 - Amended state law to require oil producers to pay royalties to mineral owners and pay taxes to the state for natural gas that is flared. Amended in ND Senate so that royalty payment and taxation language was removed and language requiring that The ND Industrial Commission submit a fiscal report to the legislature on any policy it enacts. The law is retroactive to July 31, 2013. It passed both houses as amended. In the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee we offered an amendment to restore the original royalty and taxation language. The amendment failed in committee. I spoke with the Chairman of the ND Republican Party about adding an amendment our flaring language to an existing bill. He agreed to contact potentially sympathetic republican legislators. The ND House Majority Leader (R) squelched the effort.

SB 2366 - A bill to split the Director of the Department of Mineral Resources’ conflicting duties of chief regulator and lead promoter of the oil industry by transferring his promotional duties to the Dept. of Commerce. Defeated in ND Senate.

SB 2019 - ND Parks and Recreation Department's budget. The Governor’s budget contained funding for a proposed new state nature park on the banks of the Missouri River. The Senate Appropriations Committee stripped the funding for the new park from the budget and the full ND Senate passed the bill as amended.  Funding for the park was restored at a lower funding level in the ND House and the Senate concurred. (The legislature delayed the decision whether to move the Missouri River Correctional Center (MRCC) until next session. The funding in this budget only deals with developing a 200 acre park adjacent to MRCC. If and when MRCC moves we will push to include the additional MRCC acreage in the Missouri River Nature Park.)

HB 1113 - Amended state law to eliminate public input on ND Department of Health policies concerning radioactive waste. After significant public pressure, The ND Dept. of Health offered an amendment in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that restored the public input to the bill. The bill passed the Senate as amended and the House concurred.

SB 2076 - A bill requiring The ND State Water Commission to study the impact of the Fargo Diversion Project. Defeated in the ND Senate.

HB 1390- Creates a pilot project to determine "beneficial use" of oilfield waste. Bill passed both the ND House and Senate.

Press coverage on our issues during the 64th Legislative Assembly:

http://www.sfgate.com/business/energy/article/ND-mulling-project-to-recycle-oil-drilling-waste-6197884.php

http://bismarcktribune.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/conservationists-question-creation-of-new-committee/article_620bd459-303c-5881-805a-4042ef0285a4.html

http://bismarcktribune.com/bakken/poll-finds-support-for-tougher-flaring-rules/article_48629ca0-4658-5bd2-b718-4b8a1ed6f554.html

http://bismarcktribune.com/news/opinion/mailbag/flaring/article_218651f0-0894-5e13-a904-a7239046b24c.html

http://news.prairiepublic.org/post/bill-flaring-changed-senate

http://bismarcktribune.com/news/opinion/editorial/helms-job-description-should-be-clear/article_1da2807c-71f1-5b03-a457-978699f2d03f.html

http://bismarcktribune.com/bakken/more-restrictions-on-flaring-introduced/article_5c1377b0-d183-56d0-b72d-0bbf3428ed33.html

2-6-2015 Bismarck Tribune - State oil regulator's promotional role questioned

 Wayde Schafer, a staffer with the Dacotah Chapter of the Sierra Club, said the commission, which oversees the state Department of Mineral Resources and its Oil and Gas Division, is expected to be both a regulator and head cheerleader for the oil industry, “and it just doesn’t feel right.”

“We would not expect a police officer to also be a social worker,” he said.

2-5-2015 Dickinson Press - N.D. lawmakers hear arguments on bill to split oil regulation, promotion duties

 Sierra Club of North Dakota spokesman Wayde Schafer urged a do-pass on SB2366 and said the dual role “just doesn’t feel right.”

He said the dual role is the equivalent of two jobs. Schafer said to consider having other professions having two roles in one job.

“We would not expect a police officer to also be a social worker,” Schafer said.

http://www.thedickinsonpress.com/energy/bakken/3642124-forward-flaring-regulators-say-state-has-made-progress-others-claim-its-not

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2009/nov/15/north-dakota-flaring-less-natural-gas-_-for-now/

http://www.kxnet.com/story/27666116/north-dakota-regulators-reacton-to-new-yorks-fracking-ban 

 

 

 

 

AUGUST 2015 BAKKEN NEWS

Copy and paste the link below into your browser to hear the  panel discussion of the social and environmental effects of the Bakken.  Panelists include:  Don Morrison, Executive Director of the Dakota Resource Council; Wayde Schafer of Sierra Club, North Dakota; and, Pastor Martin Mock of the First Lutheran Church in Williston, North Dakota.  After their presentations the panelists thoughtfully addressed some of the many questions from our audience of over 100 concerned citizens. This online presentation was hosted by EarthWorks.

https://app.box.com/s/mxwolo12e2lzuaswblgsad9ckcwgeihw

DAKOTAH CHAPTER SUMMER OUTING

The Dacotah Chapter enjoyed a summer outing at Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  We camped in the Cottonwood Campground for three nights.  After arriving, we biked the challenging 30+ mile loop, although most of us were not able to complete the loop due to a herd of bison on the road.  Luckily, Ron D was driving his pickup as a 'sag wagon' and carried us through the herd.  The next day we traveled and hiked to the Petrified Forest--a slippery/slidy walk-- and Elkhorn Ranch.  On the last day, we canoed for three hours on the Little Missouri.  A beautiful trip with stunning views.  We then treated ourselves by going out to dinner and then being entertained at the Medora Musical.  Thanks to Rennae G of the Red River Valley Group for planning and coordinating another great summer outing.

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