The Board of North Dakota Department of Trust Lands (Land Board) today awarded $4 million in grants to help fund enhancements in emergency services throughout the state's oil-producing counties. The grants are part of the state's $135 million Energy Impact Grant Fund which was created to address impacts created by rapid oil and gas development.
"These grants are an important part of our overall strategy to help address the impacts of rapid growth in our oil and gas counties," said Gov. Jack Dalrymple, chairman of the Land Board. "We are making significant progress, but we also know there is much work ahead. "We will continue working with local officials and community leaders to meet the region's current and long-term needs."
Other members of the Land Board are: Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt and Superintendent of Public Instruction Wayne Sanstead.
The Land Board today approved 66 grant applications to support law enforcement personnel, fire fighters and emergency medical services throughout the state's oil counties. The matching grants included $200,000 for a new ambulance building in Watford City; $125,000 for the city of Williston to purchase fire suppression equipment; $120,000 toward a new fire rescue truck and equipment for the New Town rural and city fire departments and $100,000 to equip two additional police officers in the city of Stanley. In March, during the first round of grant awards dedicated to the support of public safety and emergency services, the Land Board approved nearly $12 million in grant funding.
To date, the Land Board has committed nearly $125 million in Energy Impact Grant funds. The state grants are being used to help schools address needs that come with rapid enrollment; to facilitate the development of childcare centers and to enhance emergency services. Cities are using the funding to expand water supply systems; to extend sewer lines and city streets and to make other improvements that support greater housing development. The funding also is being used for major improvements to county and township roadways.
Dalrymple said he will recommend that the Legislature provide additional funding to address energy impacts during the 2013-2015 biennium. Dalrymple said he will recommend that the Energy Impact Grant fund be enhanced to provide about $150 million in grants. Dalrymple will also recommend that the Legislature improve the state's formula for oil and gas revenue distributions to benefit oil-producing counties.
For a complete list of grant awards, go online to http://www.nd.gov/energyimpact