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Land Board Commits More Than $16 Million in Energy Impact Grants for Hub Cities in Oil Country

BISMARCK, N.D. – The Board of University and School Lands (Land Board) today committed an additional $16,788,859 in Energy Impact Grants for Williston, Dickinson and Minot to help address infrastructure needs stemming from the rapid oil and gas development in western North Dakota. The grants were allocated from Oil and Gas Impact Funds earmarked for incorporated cities with a population of 10,000 or more.

The Land Board committed grant awards in the amount of $9,593,634 for the City of Williston, $5,796,817 for the City of Dickinson, and $1,398,408 for the City of Minot. The funding will be used to build or expand community-owned infrastructure that will support the future development of permanent housing in communities throughout western North Dakota, including water and sewer extensions, road enhancements and public works improvements. The funding committed today to Williston, Dickinson and Minot is in addition to $21 million in Energy Impact Grants already provided to the three hub cities.

“These state grants are an important part of our on-going work to help communities meet the impacts created by rapid development,” Gov. Dalrymple said.  “At the same time, the state Department of Transportation will stick to aggressive timelines for many other road improvement projects and other infrastructure upgrades throughout western North Dakota during the current construction season.”

Dalrymple is chairman of the five-member state Land Board. Other board members are: Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Superintendent of Public Instruction Wayne Sanstead and Treasurer Kelly Schmidt.

Following Dalrymple’s recommendation, the Legislature enhanced the Oil and Gas Impact Fund and appropriated $135 million for the 2011-13 biennium to offset direct energy impacts in the state’s oil and gas counties. So far, the state has awarded about $95 million for critical infrastructure upgrades, emergency service enhancements, rapid school enrollments and other needs. About $25 million in additional grant funding will be allocated this summer.

In all, the state has committed $1.2 billion to help meet needs in the Oil Patch during the 2011-2013 biennium.  More than $500 million has flowed into North Dakota’s oil-producing counties to fund roadway projects, to enhance emergency services, to help address rapid school enrollment and to meet other needs.  The majority of state funding, about $685 million, remains to be distributed. More than $400 million will be spent this construction season to address energy impacts.

In other action Thursday, the Land Board also awarded $2.6 million in state Flood Impact Grants to help political subdivisions within Renville, Ramsey, Benson and McHenry counties cover the costs of repairing flood-related damages to public infrastructure. In April, the Land Board awarded $25 million in state flood impact grants to help cover the cost of major flood damages in nine counties. The Legislature, during its 2011 special session, appropriated $30 million to help counties, cities and other political subdivisions repair major flood-related damages not eligible through other government sources or insurance.

Members of the Land Board also discussed the possibility of creating a state program to support the development of additional child day care services in the state’s Oil Patch. The Land Board discussed the possibility of creating a matching grant program to assist in the purchase of “turn-key” modular facilities for licensed group daycare providers.

 

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