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North Dakota “Great Recession” real estate crisis?

real estate crisis indicated by unfinished apartment

The North Dakota Office of State Tax Commissioner recently reported a $63 million shortfall in anticipated sales tax collections in December of 2015. Sales tax collections have declined by over 50 percent in some oil patch cities. Even with a massive state investment program and projects that were financed prior to the recent decline in oil prices, sales tax revenues still collapsed. Plunging sales ...

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EDITORIAL: Wisconsin should lift long-time ban on nuclear plants

Now might seem an odd time for Wisconsin to lift its restrictions on new nuclear power plants, given that natural gas is plentiful and cheap. But now is the perfect time to do so. Fortunately, Republicans and Democrats on the Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities united last month in a 13-0 vote to recommend lifting the ban. That bipartisanship ...

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Billowing wake-up call from LA on greenhouse gas

California is viewed as a national model in regulating greenhouse gas pollution, the one state that is actually moving the needle on climate change. That’s true to a point. But there are some gaping vulnerabilities in enforcement, and the massive natural gas leak in suburban Los Angeles underscores how far we have to go on oversight. Southern California Gas Co. ...

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EDITORIAL: Why the federal budget bill is (mostly) good for the environment

The massive spending bill passed by Congress earlier this month contains myriad provisions. One thing it, fortunately, does not contain is language to block the Clean Power Plan, President Barack Obama’s administration’s policy to combat climate change by reducing pollution from power plants. Overall, the spending package is a mixed bag for the environment. On the plus side — in ...

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Opinion: The money comes rolling in … and out

Warm weather and a saturated natural gas market have driven down the gas price and slowed the Pennsylvania natural gas industry. Still, gas extraction has been a boon to local governments across the Marcellus Shale gas field. Due to the state Legislature’s refusal to place a fair severance tax on the industry, drillers instead have paid a “local impact fee” ...

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Editorial: Allowing US oil exports is shortsighted

oil tanker and a sail boat

Having access to oil is critical to the United States. It is, in fact, a matter of national security. Yet, old fashioned greed has clouded judgment as Congress, as part of its budget agreement, is lifting crude oil export restrictions that have effectively banned most sales of U.S. crude oil abroad. The price of crude oil has plummeted around the ...

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Editorial: Wanted: a path forward for Sandpiper

A badly needed pipeline to haul Bakken crude across North Dakota and northern Minnesota was waylaid and cast into uncertainty in September by the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Just three months earlier, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission had issued a “certificate of need” for the project known as Sandpiper. But the commission should have required the completion of an Environmental ...

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EDITORIAL: Some good, local ideas for ‘cap & trade’ to fight global pollution

Oil and gas refinery operates amidst a global shift away from fossil fuels in an effort to fight climate change and global warming

The U.S. can no longer continue its political complacency over climate change and the impact it will have worldwide. We say “political” complacency as the majority of Americans support the U.S. joining an international pact to reduce greenhouse emissions — two-thirds of them, in fact, according to a New York Times/CBS poll released last week, which coincided with President Barack ...

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Editorial: Bill Gates deserves praise for his green energy revolution

Bill Gates is positioned to remake the energy landscape, corralling 28 billionaire investors to advance clean-energy research.

Bill Gates is positioned to remake the energy landscape, corralling 28 billionaire investors to advance clean-energy research. In his announcement, Gates distilled the wonky jargon of the Paris climate conference into something tangible: money for new clean-energy technology. Gates’ project has teeth. And once the diplomatic chatter at the conference begins to quiet, it may end up as the last, ...

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