May 9, 2017

Family lauds state’s passage of minerals bill

By Jack Dura
Farmer Staff Writer

At 89, Van Blaine well remembers working with her parents and siblings on their farm along the Missouri River.
“I worked in the granaries, shoveling wheat,” she said. “We just all had a very, very personal connection to the land.”
Which is why yearslong litigation over the ordinary high water mark delineating the state of North Dakota’s riparian mineral rights has caused such heartache.
Since 2009, royalty payments on all but 13 acres of mineral rights of her family’s acreage have been held in escrow, bringing great financial impacts to Blaine’s family as the litigation and eventual legislation sought resolution.
Now, with the stroke of Gov. Doug Burgum’s signature last month on a state senate bill to review the original U.S. Army Corps of Engineers survey on the historic Missouri River channel, the rollercoaster of the past eight years is nearing an end.
“The state wasn’t interested in any of that before horizontal drilling,” Van said, speaking by phone with her husband Charlie from New Mexico. “And they just started grabbing.”

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