Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Would You Buy A Used ‘ROCET” From This Company?

I have a new friend who I’ll call “Chris,” who knows something about petroleum engineering. This new friend is some kind of engineer. I haven’t met this friend in person, but I’ve talked to Chris a few times on the computer and the phone recently. Chris sent me an e-mail this week after reading a couple of the columns I’ve …


Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — More Words Of Caution About The Refinery

My phone keeps ringing, with calls from people who want to talk about Meridian Energy Group, the company that wants to build an oil refinery beside Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I’ve talked to engineers, accountants, investors and salesmen, and all are pretty skeptical about this company’s intent. There’s a common theme: A lot of people stand to lose a lot …


JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Refinery Company’s Employees Sue For $600,000 In Unpaid Wages

A group of seven former and current (but likely to soon be former) employees of Meridian Energy Group, the California company that wants to build an oil refinery next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the North Dakota Bad Lands, has filed a lawsuit against Meridian seeking to recover more than $600,000 in unpaid wages, salaries and bonuses. The lawsuit …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Two Very Important Letters

A week or so ago, I wrote here about the Billings County Commission’s actions seeking federal funds to build their “Bridge to Nowhere” across the Little Missouri State Scenic River north of Medora, N.D., encouraging my readers to send letters in opposition to their scheme. My wife, Lillian, and I did so the very next day.  Shortly, I was pleased …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Is Absolutely Everything For Sale?

If you agree that we should not throw up a bridge in the North Dakota Badlands within a few miles of Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch Site, please write to Secretary Elaine Chou asap, and please share my letter to your network of friends. Talk about Last Best Places! The question we have to ask is — is absolutely everything for …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — I’m Pretty Ashamed Of North Dakota Today

Meridian Energy Group, the fly-by-night California startup company that proposes to put an oil refinery next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota, came one step closer to being able to start construction this week when the North Dakota Supreme Court upheld the Permit to Construct the refinery, issued by the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, formerly the …

DAVE BRUNER: Photo Gallery — Badlands Trip Series No. 1

Grand Forks photographer Dave Bruner was out in the North Dakota Badlands this past week for a few days hiking around taking photos and exploring different areas in Theodore Roosevelt National Park and other locations outside the park. Dave says these images looked best in the black-and-white format with all the structure and deep contrasts of the scene.

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Those Whistles Just Keep On Blowing

I’m having a hard time concentrating these days with all these whistles being blown in my ears. My phone keeps ringing. People who work for Meridian Energy, or used to work for Meridian Energy, want to talk to me. So I listen. And I ask a few questions, about the status of that oil refinery Meridian says it is going …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Whither The Refinery?

I can’t quite figure out what is going on with the proposed refinery that Meridian Energy Group says it is going to build next door to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Just about exactly two years ago this week, a company called Martin Construction from Dickinson, N.D., just down the road from the park, went into the field behind Belfield, N.D., …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — My Heart Friend, Bart

Wednesday’s April blizzard gifts me with the time to sit down and write about my heart friend, Bart Koehler. Bart came to be my friend by the actions of my friend and colleague at Dickinson State University, Steve Robbins. Steve was a charter member of Badlands Conservation Alliance  and his brain is always problem-solving, generating bright ideas. BCA was in …

RUSS HONS: Photo Gallery — Badlands Beauty

Grand Forks photographer did his part to keep up with social distancing last weekend, traveling to where the deer and the antelope play — Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the North Dakota Badlands. Not only did Russ capture images of those critters made famous in the song “Home on the Range,” he also managed to find a few other species …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Solitude in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground,” so we took those words to heart and stole away to the Bad Lands on Tuesday. My sisters and I traveled to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in our separate cars and maintained our social distance. The fresh air and time on the trail greatly renewed …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Bring On The Whistleblowers

Last month, I began reporting on the apparent financial troubles besetting Meridian Energy Group, the company planning to build an oil refinery near the boundary of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the North Dakota Bad Lands. Since then, I’ve received more information on the company, which I feel holds much merit and credit. I’m going to share some of that …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Refinery Company Slapped With $2 Million Lien For Nonpayment Of Bills

On Monday. I posted a story here about the financial woes of Meridian Energy Group, triggered by the filing last week of a huge construction lien against the company by one of its contractors. There were some things in it I just couldn’t figure out, and I probably should have held off for a day or two until I got …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — A Long-Overdue Wild Badlands Day

My family journeyed west earlier this week for a long-overdue wild Badlands day. Our first stop was to view the ongoing bison round-up at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The corrals were full of bison and from outside the fence, we watched the trailers being loaded, and we could hear the racket those massive beasts make when their bodies meet steel. …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Wild Badlands Weekend

It has been a long and tiring winter and spring has been slow to arrive. We both have been ailing. Jim slipped on the ice and fractured three ribs and I’ve been struggling with Lyme disease since our February Channel Islands National Park adventure. Thus, it was that we were both delighted to be able to pack up the car …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Do We REALLY Appreciate Our Public Lands?

My monthly column in Dakota Country magazine is dedicated to conservation and the protection of our western North Dakota public lands, especially the Little Missouri National Grasslands and Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I’ve been traveling this winter, and I’m going to share some thoughts on public lands and national parks this month. But first … In the January issue of …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — If You’re Going To Talk Like Teddy Roosevelt, You Better Act Like Teddy Roosevelt

I’ve listened to a few State of the State speeches by North Dakota governors — probably somewhere between 15 and 20 — and even had a hand in writing a few of them, so I think I’m qualified to offer a few comments on the one Doug Burgum gave Thursday to the North Dakota Legislature. As they go, his was …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Christmas Bird Count: Bad Lands Waxwing Day

Each year, when our time permits, Jim and I try to participate in an area Christmas Bird Count. Friday, we traveled to festive Medora, N.D., for a dusk drive through the national park, some Comet Wirtanen and Geminid meteor shower viewing in the dark Park and a good night’s sleep in the Rough Rider Hotel. And Saturday, we participated in …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — More Notes From My Wild Life: Owls

Late in October, my daughter and I traveled to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where magic happens for us no matter what see or do. We go there whenever we can. This time, we were there to join in with a research project that has taken place there for several years — banding Northern Saw-whet Owls. I assisted with this project …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Time To Get Involved

A LOT of people read Monday’s post about the North Dakota Public Service Commission and the Davis Refinery on The Prairie Blog and Unheralded.Fish, and I had a number of requests asking how they could get involved. Here’s how: Write a letter. Elected officials react to public contact. Letters, e-mails, phone calls and attendance at meetings all influence their actions. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Don’t Do It, Julie; Don’t Back Down

A letter to North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak. Don’t do it. Don’t just blindly accept the recommendation of an administrative law judge to reject the idea that you could assume jurisdiction over the Davis Refinery, which Meridian Energy wants to build three miles from Theodore Roosevelt National Park. That judge based his recommendation on a strict reading of …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — ‘If You Know Wilderness In The Way That You Know Love … ‘: Two Retreats To The North Unit

It has been my great fortune to have made two retreats to the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park these past few weeks, a place in the Bad Lands that is very dear to my heart.  The North Unit is the heart of wildness in North Dakota and is, right now, awash in autumn glory. My first outing was …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A Refinery Moves One Step Closer To Our National Park, But It’s Not Too Late To Stop It

There are two ways to look at the recommendation of Administrative Law Judge Patrick Ward on Tuesday that the North Dakota Public Service Commission dismiss the complaint against that (expletive deleted) Meridian Energy for failing to get a site review from the PSC for its proposed refinery near Theodore Roosevelt National Park. First, If you believe that two or maybe …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Conservation Groups To Refinery: ‘Cease And Desist!’

Lest we let the threat of an oil refinery beside Theodore Roosevelt National Park slip from our minds as we go about our busy fall lives, here’s an update on where things stand right now. Meridian Energy has started dirt work at the site beside Interstate 94 on the road into the park, flouting the attempt by conservation groups to …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘A Bridge To Nowhere’

Well, after nearly a dozen years of delay, it looks like Billings County is finally going to build a bridge over the Little Missouri State Scenic River north of Medora, N.D. The county posted a notice in the Federal Register on Oct. 12, 2006, that it was beginning an Environmental Impact Statement process “for a proposed roadway project and river …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Dispatches From Theodore Roosevelt National Park

We slipped away from domestic chores this week for an interlude in Theodore Roosevelt National Park (South Unit) along with a night in the charming village of Medora, N.D., where we were treated to two very pleasant days, warm and sunny, with a gentle breeze. We took a hike on the Jones Creek trail and two drives through the Park …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Of Refineries And Bridges

There is news this week on several fronts involving threats to the North Dakota Bad Lands. There are some long documents to read. Here’s a summary. More when I get done reading them. THAT DAMN REFINERY First, Meridian Energy’s proposed oil refinery near Theodore Roosevelt National Park. You probably read that the Dakota Resource Council and its legal ally, the …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Who Wants To Invest In A Refinery? Here’s How You Can Do It

I wrote here a couple of weeks go about the beginning of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, created by Congress in 1947, and about the proposed oil refinery that threatens it, a refinery that has now been issued a permit by the state of North Dakota to build the dang thing. It’s been 70 years since Congress declared that this place …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘I So Declare It!’

My day started out OK this morning. My pillbox told me it was Thursday — it’s always nice to know what day of the week it is right away in the morning. I had a pretty good bowel movement — for you young readers, that‘s pretty important for someone my age. I got my belt through every belt loop but …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Walk On The Wild Side — In The Bad Lands

While life at Red Oak House here on Missouri River is filled with many blessings and much happiness, as frequently as possible we refresh our spirits with visits to the Bad Lands of North Dakota, which we did early this week, joined by our daughter, Chelsea, and Paul and Joe, our friends from Arizona. We met on the veranda of …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Rollin’ Up Our Sleeves

It is the tradition for members of the Badlands Conservation Alliance to do a day of service, usually in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, on the weekend closest to Earth Day. On this past Saturday, we did just that, rollin’ up our sleeves for Theodore Roosevelt National Park, in the heart of the Bad Lands, our sacred landscape. I’ve been involved …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie —A Short Message About Our National Park

This might be the shortest blog post I’ve ever written. Or will ever write. But it’s an important one, so if you are concerned about the possibility of an oil refinery being built next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park as I am, please take just one minute to read it. I had a chance encounter with Gov. Doug Burgum this …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Of Refineries And The Public Trust Doctrine

The official comment period has passed on that sleazy company Meridian Energy’s request for an Air Pollution Permit for an oil refinery beside Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I’m guessing the State Health Department got an earful. Friday, on the last day of comments, my friend,Sarah Vogel, our former state agriculture commissioner and one of the state’s best attorneys, sent me …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Mother-Daughter Date To Theodore Roosevelt National Park

My daughter and I had a Theodore Roosevelt National Park getaway Thursday. She hadn’t been out there since Labor Day, and she described the day as “rejuvenating.” She loves the Bad Lands as much as I, and she is particularly in love with the wild horses that inhabit the South Unit of TRNP. She is a photographer and a member …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Refinery Needs A Site Review

A pair of former Democratic-NPL state senators challenged the North Dakota Health Department to demand a site review by the State’s Public Service Commission before issuing an air pollution permit allowing Meridian Energy Group to build a refinery three miles from Theodore Roosevelt National Park at a marathon public hearing by the Department Wednesday night. Former Sen. Connie Triplett of …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — We’ll See You In Court

At the end of the meeting between Meridian Energy Group executives and the North Dakota Public Service Commission a couple of weeks ago, Commission President Randy Christmann pretty much told William Prentice, Meridian CEO and the man who wants to build an oil refinery next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, that the next time they meet will probably be in …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Fort Keogh Trail

Another important historic trail in North Dakota that has been on my mind this past year is the Fort Keogh Trail. This trail passed nearby to where I grew up in Slope County. As shown on the map above, it ran from Fort Abraham Lincoln (near present-day Mandan, N.D.) to Fort Keogh, west of Miles City, Mont. Completed during the …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — ‘The Hour of Land’

“The Hour of Land: a Personal Topography of America’s National Parks,” Terry Tempest Williams (Sarah Crichton Book, 2016). The National Park Service observed its centennial in 2016. During this year, writer Terry Tempest Williams published “The Hour of Land,” her personal journey and meditation on the national parks, essays written as she traveled the country visiting some of the iconic sites …