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Published April 22, 2013, 06:45 PM

Oil country funding restored

Pressure from oil country has led the Senate to change the bill that sends money to western North Dakota for oil impacts. They made drastic cuts to the bill a couple weeks ago, removing 400 million dollars. But today a large chunk of that money is restored.

By: Donnell Preskey, KX News

Pressure from oil country has led the Senate to change the bill that sends money to western North Dakota for oil impacts. They made drastic cuts to the bill a couple weeks ago, removing 400 million dollars. But today a large chunk of that money is restored.

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.

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

Sen. Jim Dotzenrod (D) Wyndmere: "This appears to get us back to be pretty close."

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 three times the amount that is currently going to areas impacted by oil development.

Sen. Rich Wardner (R) Dickinson: "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."

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

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

Cook: 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."

Cook reminds the Senate that this bill is a piece of unfinished 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 dollars to oil roads earlier this session.

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