Burgum declares statewide emergency in preparation for spring flooding, tours flooded area in western N.D.
Gov. Doug Burgum on Wednesday declared a statewide flood emergency in preparation for the threat of significant spring flooding across North Dakota, as state agencies gathered to begin coordinating their response and resources. The governor also toured flood-affected areas in western McKenzie County, hearing heartbreaking stories from residents displaced by the flooding Yellowstone River.
“All signs point to a high potential for significant floods that could overwhelm local response capabilities across the state,” Burgum said. “This emergency declaration is an essential step in making sure that state personnel and equipment are available and ready to respond when significant flooding threatens the safety of people and property, and toward pursuing a federal disaster declaration that could bring additional assistance to local residents and political subdivisions.”
More than 50 homes have taken on water and 110 residents have been displaced by flooding near the North Dakota-Montana border, where lengthy ice jams have backed up the Yellowstone River. During a meeting with displaced residents at the Fairview Fire Hall, homeowners described the devastation to their property and disruption to their lives caused by the unexpected flooding.
Among those joining Burgum on a tour of inundated areas were the state’s adjutant general, North Dakota National Guard Maj. Gen. Alan Dohrmann; District 39 state Sen. Dale Patten and Rep. Keith Kempenich; McKenzie County Commission Chairman Tom McCabe; and County Emergency Manager Karolin Jappe.
Burgum has activated the North Dakota State Emergency Operations Plan and directed all state agencies, including the North Dakota National Guard, to maintain high readiness levels with flood response resources.
Sanford recognized nationally for leadership on energy and the environment
Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford on Wednesday was awarded the 2018 Public Leadership in Energy and Environmental Stewardship award, a nationwide recognition of his work on energy and the environment. Sanford is the eighth recipient of this annual award presented by Baker Hughes, a GE Company, in partnership with the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA).
“As a state whose top two industries, agriculture and energy, rely on our abundant natural resources, North Dakota has a strong heritage of environmental stewardship and responsible development," Sanford said as he received the award. "Our administration takes pride in carrying on this tradition and developing innovative ways such as the iPIPE project to respond to environmental concerns, and I take seriously my role as a key liaison with our regulatory agencies that oversee oil and gas development and the environment."
The award was announced and the presentation made during the NLGA Federal-State Relations meeting in Washington, D.C.
Sanford also participated in a roundtable discussion with fellow lieutenant governors at the White House focused on the economy and workforce development, and rebalancing trade and growing exports. Among the other participants was Linda McMahon, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, and Deputy U.S. Trade Representative C.J. Mahoney.
Governor signs bill ratifying historic oil tax revenue sharing compact with MHA Nation
Gov. Doug Burgum on Thursday signed legislation that ratifies the historic compact he signed in February with Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation Chairman Mark Fox to change how the state and tribe share tax revenue from new oil and gas activity on trust and fee lands.
“This historic legislation is the result of nearly two years of good-faith dialogue and collaboration between tribal and legislative leaders, the Governor’s Office, industry representatives and the state tax department. Finalizing this agreement sends a clear signal that North Dakota supports a stable tax and regulatory environment, which will help us compete with shale oil plays in other states and help the tribe address infrastructure needs and other priorities,” said Burgum, whose five strategic initiatives include strengthening tribal partnerships. “We look forward to continued collaboration with all of the tribal nations in North Dakota based on mutual respect and understanding.”
Senate Bill 2312 was introduced by Sen. Jordan Kannianen and co-sponsored by House Majority Leader Chet Pollert and Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner. The bill received wide bipartisan support, passing 40-5 in the Senate and 84-8 in the House of Representatives.
Under the ratified compact, the current 50-50 tax revenue split will change so that the tribe will receive 80 percent of the production and extraction tax revenue from new wells on tribal trust lands and the state will receive 20 percent of the revenue. On fee land, 80 percent of the revenue will go to the state and 20 percent to the tribe.
Governor honors first-ever recipients of Keeble Award, signs proclamation for Vietnam Veterans Day
On Friday, Gov. Burgum delivered 10 Woodrow Wilson Keeble "Je Suis Pret" (I Am Ready) Awards to the first-ever recipients of this new honor at Circle of Nations School in Wahpeton.
Named for one of the most decorated soldiers to ever serve in the North Dakota National Guard, Master Sgt. Woodrow "Woody" Keeble, the award was created to recognize current or former members of the NDNG who displayed courage, fortitude and determination to protect or defend life, limb or property.
In 2008, President George W. Bush posthumously awarded Keeble the Medal of Honor at a ceremony at the White House for actions during the Korean War. During World War II, Keeble served in the Pacific Theater with the famous North Dakota National Guard’s 164th Infantry Regiment. There he earned the Bronze Star Medal, two Purple Hearts and the Combat Infantry Badge. Keeble is also a recipient of North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider award. Read more about Keeble here.
Earlier in the day, Burgum thanked Vietnam veterans and signed a proclamation declaring March 29 as Vietnam Veterans Day in North Dakota during a ceremony at the Capitol to honor the more than 15,000 North Dakotans who served in Vietnam — including 198 who never made it home.
“Each of these young men and women left their homes faithfully and honorably to serve their nation. It’s our responsibility to make sure that their service and sacrifice is not forgotten,” Burgum said during the ceremony. “Today we honor and remember the surviving and departed Vietnam veterans, including those 198 and those veterans who were or are still missing in action or prisoners of war.”
As governor, Burgum is committed to ensuring all veterans are receiving the benefits and services they have earned for protecting our nation. Last October, the governor created a task force to assess the current system for supporting military veterans in North Dakota and comprehensively examine how the state’s current resources can be organized to serve veterans most effectively. His executive budget proposal for the 2019-21 biennium also recommends exempting military retirement pay from state income taxes, a proposal that continues to move through the Legislature.
Burgum, Sanford and legislators meet with supporters of TR Presidential Library
This week, Gov. Burgum and Lt. Gov. Sanford took part in various forums to help provide information about the proposed Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum (TRPLM), including a reception with legislators and project stakeholders from around the state.
Local government officials, longtime backers of the TRPLM and tourism industry representatives from across North Dakota were present to share their perspective on the multi-generational impact this investment could have for the state. It was a unique opportunity for legislators and a variety of stakeholders to discuss the economic development and diversification that the project could bring.
Later in the week, Andrea Travnicek, U.S. Department of Interior Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, met with legislators to convey the federal support for building the TRPLM as part of a redesigned entrance at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Wendy Ross, TRNP Superintendent, described how a project like this would improve the visitor experience and help drive tourism to one of the most beautiful landscapes in the United States.
Burgum helps present awards at inaugural Governor's Military Ball
Gov. Burgum helped present nearly 20 awards to North Dakota military service men and women, military families and volunteers as he and First Lady Kathryn Burgum hosted the inaugural North Dakota Governor's Military Ball last weekend at the Radisson Hotel in Bismarck.
The event was held in conjunction with the North Dakota National Guard Enlisted Association and the National Guard Association of North Dakota.
Burgum congratulated all of the winners on their distinguished service and expressed his gratitude to the North Dakota National Guard's 4,100 Air and Army Guard members and their families for their service, sacrifice and commitment to their communities, as well as the many employers who support the Guard.
Check out the latest episode of 'Work Worth Doing'
With warmer weather on the horizon, North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department Director Melissa Baker sat down with Gov. Burgum to highlight the natural beauty of our state, the department's work to expand opportunities and programming within their facilities and a brand new online reservation system.
The enthusiasm that residents and visitors alike show for North Dakota's parks indicates something more than just a weekend getaway. By providing a space for residents to be active and build community, the Parks and Recreation Department is making North Dakota an even better place to live. These recreational activities help create healthy, vibrant communities for all.
This episode, titled "Campfire Stories: How Parks Build Community," is available now at the link below.