Senate Restores Chunk of Money to Oil Country - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Senate Restores Chunk of Money to Oil Country

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Pressure from oil country has led the Senate to changing the bill that sends money to western North Dakota for oil impacts.

They made drastic cuts to the bill a couple weeks go, removing $400 million.

But today a large chunk of that money is restored.

Donnell Preskey has the latest.

After getting heat from western North Dakota lawmakers and residents who live in oil country, the Senate today changed it's stance on the oil impact funding bill.

Two weeks ago the Senate stripped the bill saying the money would show up in other bills.

But Senator Dwight Cook says his fellow lawmakers from oil country were getting beat up on the issue, so today he offered a plan to restore almost all of the money.

"Came to the conclusion, probably best that this money effecting western North Dakota stay in 1358," says Cook.

"This appears to get us back to be pretty close," says Senator Jim Dotzenrod of Wyndmere.

There is now $1.1 billion in the bill for oil related impacts.

The Senate's version is 100 million less than the House's version.

But still 3 times the amount that is currently going to areas impacted by oil development.

"It's over the Governor's budget, therefore it makes us scramble to find the most effective way to get the money out to the oil patch to the people who need it,"says Senator Rich Wardner of Dickinson. "There's a lot of money in here that will go back to where it's really needed. It's a step in the right direction," says Senator Bill Bowman of Bowman. "Infrastructure is a need across the state. I am excited we have added $100 m for non-oil counties," says Senator Terry Wanzek of Jamestown.

The bill still does not include money the Senate removed for services in oil country like ems, fire and hospitals.

"Make sure we get adequate funding to areas need it like EMS, hospitals, fire department. Necessary. Need to get them the support we can," says Wardner.

Understand that EMS especially, will have money in impact grant dedicated to it. That will be a conference committee discussion. But as of now, it doesn't have money set aside at this time," says Cook.

Cook reminds the Senate that this bill is a piece of un fished legislation. With the Senate's approval the bill will now head to conference committee.

In addition to this bill, Lawmakers passed a bill sending $600 million to oil roads earlier this session.

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