Drovdal: State sees need to help oil impacted areas
By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer
Oil and gas, water, and of course, money, along with many other issues will be discussed when the 62nd session of the North Dakota Legislature convenes in Bismarck on Jan. 4.
“As with every session, this one is about money, money and of course, money,” says David Drovdal, Speaker of the House and District 39 Representative. “However, with all of that money comes a lot of positives for western North Dakota.”
According to Drovdal, a lot of the money discussions will focus around oil and the western portion of the state.
“Through lots of work from area officials over the summer, the governor and legislators have recognized the needs of oil-impacted areas, like McKenzie County,” adds Drovdal. “Of course, everything still needs to be approved, but so far, Governor Dalrymple plans to spend $229 million on highways with $142 million going to the counties, and that is just one example of funding headed our way. There are a lot of positives coming from the new governor. This is going to be an exciting session.”
Drovdal is confident that western North Dakota has a friend in the governor’s office.
“Governor Dalrymple was very involved with former Governor Hoeven’s budget, and he is going forward with many things that were planned,” comments Drovdal. “We are going to hit the ground running.”
In addition to oil issues, Drovdal expects to see some water issues, with both drinking water and flooding coming up, landowner and mineral rights and road issues.
“With my new position as Speaker, I am not directly involved with any specific committees, but I am able to get involved with any committees that I think will impact my district.”
If approved by the legislature, the governor has also included the addition of three highway patrol officers for western North Dakota.
“The addition of new highway patrol officers will greatly help the area,” adds Drovdal. “I am the last one who wants to see anyone get a ticket, but area sheriff’s deputies are being stretched to the max helping out the highway patrol, and these added officers will really help with that.”
As the session gets underway, Drovdal urges anyone interested in discussing the issues to contact him to set up a forum.
“I’m excited to get going,” states Drovdal. “And as always I plan to come home on the weekends, weather permitting, so I will be seen and heard around the area’s coffee shops if you’re interested in discussing what’s happening in the session.”