Even though you posted this a few years back, I thought you and others like us would be happy to learn about North Dakota's wonderful legislators and how they are fighting for us. Hopefully you will see this post. My cousin and I have been fighting in the N.D. courts for years re: OHWM. After all those years on a merry-go-round, there are finally two bills, HB 1199 and SB 2134 that are almost through the legislature and committees as passed then on the Governor for final signature. The legislature has really stepped up for us. Senator Jessica Unruh presented an extremely strong case for our side in the Senate a few weeks back. She is one of many that are working to rectify this injustice. I am thankful for all they are doing. You can go to the N.D. legislature site and follow their progress. I'm hoping for the final bill to be passed by mid April or sooner. Hopefully. You can Email the legislators indicating your support for the return of the mineral acreage that was unlawfully taken from many mineral acre owners. I am saddened to note the votes for these bills have been along absolute party lines. They are fighting to have the N.D. century code reflect the OHWM shall be along the ORIGINAL HISTORIC MISSOURI RIVERBED as it was intended!! Should this pass it will restore the slightly over 2/3rds of my families mineral acres that were unlawfully taken. (14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution) You can read the bills as they have been amended at this point in time. I am so grateful for what the Legislators are doing for us. They are fighting the good fight for us.
It will be interesting to hear how this plays out. The state has already leased the much if not all of this acreage, receiving large bonuses having collected years of royalty. How are they going to fix that? If I got my minerals back, that I did not lease? With paid out wells on them? Never having the opportunity to lease or participate? I would be an owner in those wells...if I so chose. It will be interesting to see how things play out.
There is a hearing today at 1:00PM North Dakota time, in the N.D. state legislature. If you go to their website, you can watch it live. They have really put a lot of work into making this right. They have deemed it an emergency bill. If I am correct, that means it will go into effect as soon as the Governor signs it. I believe today is the last hearing before it goes to the Governor. It has been a so very many years long fight. As I watched the changes made to SB2134, I was so heartened by the care they put into it as they made various revisions. It looks like it should sail through, as it has so far. It seems this terrible wrong will be righted. In, my case I signed a lease for my original acreage with Continental and before my first check, the State had leased 2/3 of my m/a with Continental. Double lease !! What??? For 37 months the State got my money and I am going to be so relieved when this is over. If I read the bill correctly, there will be no 18% interest paid. That is disappointing but, after wasting years fighting in the courts to no avail, I just want this to have a happy ending while I’m still alive. I don’t understand the reasoning, but for now, I just want my mineral acres and my back royalties. So, in my case, at least, I did get the opportunity to lease and I did. After they leased with the State, they sent me a revised division order showing 2/3 less acreage. That was the beginning of a nightmare . I never sign division orders. It’s not required in North Dakota. I hope all others who were affected by this unlawful land grab will have a joyous day (I’m going on the assumption this will pass and be signed). Some mineral owners aren’t even aware of the fight for returning our property to us that we have been waging. I’ve only seen less than a handful of news articles on it. That surprises me because I think it’s a big, big deal.
Poppi, I might have been a little hasty. I and my brother recently recovered rights that were illegally taken from us. The remedy there was to put us back where we were before the illegal taking took place. It now occurs to me, what if they claim the taking of your mineral rights WAS legal at the time but they want to return your interests to you in the interest of fairness? Totally different situation. I hope your nightmare ends this day. My personal battle lasted 7 years.
Considering that the state decided to take the mineral rights at the height of the money rolling in and with record setting surpluses, tells me it was pure greed on the part of the state. With the bottom dropping out of the O&G market, I don't know if I should be surprised or not that the state is considering returning the mineral rights. I know some people donated the surface, the state did not purchase it from them. I think the surveys of the OHWM paid for or cherry picked by the state may have been overly generous in the states favor.
It wasn’t legal at the time. The State Lands Trust board was very creative with the Ordinary High Water Mark. The water mark was set at statehood. They didn’t honor that. It was the Land Trust portion of the government that got creative. My cousin and I, finally, among a handful of others contacted the legislature and made them aware of this injustice. Within weeks they were working to set it right. At this point I have the highest regard for them. Now if it doesn’t continue to get passed (they are making changes to it as it moves through) , I will be beyond description disappointed. This is not just to restore mine, but for all those that were affected by the Garrison Dam. I’m sorry you had a seven year battle. It has been exhausting, wearing, maddening and so very stressful. I’m sure you know those same feelings with your battle. The state did two surveys. I guess they didn’t like the first one. The second one was different. I think they then decided they liked the first one better. As you said, cherry picked. So now I am going to now make a cup of tea and prepare to watch today’s hearing which should begin in about 35 minutes. I only wish more of those affected by this were aware of the hearings and we’re watching it too.
The vote in the House on SB 2134 has been moved to tomorrow. They worked on a lot of Bills today though. Unfortunately the Bill I am hoping they pass was last in their huge list and they just ran out of time today. Tomorrow beginning at 1:15P.M. North Dakota time they should hear it. I hope some of you are able to watch it unfold.
Steve, Poppi and rwk –
Sorry to be a wet blanket but I have a different take on the proceedings. My family lost over 100 acres to the OHWM fraud as well. The original SB2134 bill was simple and plainly stated that the Army Corp of Engineers surveys for the Garrison Dam takings would be used as the final delineation of the river shoreline. The ND Century code would be changed and the deal would be done. Both the Senate SB2134 and House HB1199 bills passed easily and it looked like the legislature was ready to do the right thing.
However, a couple of days ago the House Energy committee added a whole bunch of amendments to water it down. They passed the amendments and referred the bill to the Appropriations Committee. They want $800,000 to do a new “independent study” that would allow the state to dispute the COE surveys, using most of the same fake methodology they did before with the aerial photographs and digitized maps. It is just a rehash of OHWM and could stretch out the process for up to three years. I’m talking 30 days to select a vendor, 6 months to do the study, 60 day public comment period, then public hearings etc., and the state is free to extend the study time as long as they want without oversight. It’s a joke!
It looks to me like they want to do the same scam all over again, only this time they will not challenge any of the Bureau of Land Management claims especially in the T154, R94-97W area. If the dispute with the federal govt ends, the feds will drop their lawsuits, leaving the private owners undefended. The state can then use the new study to cherry pick the most lucrative private parcels and the owners would be stuck fighting in the corrupt ND courts forever, with little chance of their cases ever getting out of ND to a US Appeals Court or the US Supreme Court as it could with the power of the feds behind us. The burden of proof would be on the owners to prove that the study erred in disputing the COE surveys. Good luck on that!
Think – why would they spend 800K on a phony new study if they weren’t already plotting to use the study as justification to steal more than that amount?
Go to the legislature’s web page, download the amended bill and read it carefully, it’s all in there. Here is the link:
I think the word is getting out and that is why they didn’t vote on it yet – because they are getting lots of blowback. I contacted the appropriations committee members and the Senators to ask them to stop the nonsense and pass the original SB2134. Maybe I’m just a conspiracy nut but it all makes sense to me. I don’t trust these people one bit.
BTW, the dollar amounts the state would have to give back are roughly $86,000,000 in lease bonuses and rents from the fraudulently auctioned private minerals, plus something like $69,000,000 in royalties if I remember correctly. They aren’t going to let go of all that moolah easily.
Also, I believe that the retirement of Jack Dalrymple and the defeat of Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem by Governor Burgum in the 2016 election is what opened the door for SB 2134 to happen now. “Just my opinion, I could be wrong.”
Good luck to all,
Here are those numbers, they come from a "Fiscal Note" requested by the Legislative Council, dated March 24 2017:
$87,663,214 of bonus and rent;
$69,316,160 of royalties collected and anticipated through FY 2017; and
$29,406,007 that could be collected during the time-frame of the study.
Including the $800,000 appropriated in Section 2 of the bill (the cost of the new study), the total appropriation is $187,185,381.
Didn’t the bill have East of the HWY 85 bridge returned and West, where my minerals are was not going to be returned. Why give some of the people theirs and not the rest? Yes, I watched the hearings that day. They adjourned without finishing the calendar. Somehow, that very day, the bill was sent back to the appropriations committee. I am hopeful they won’t prolong this. Trying to stay positive.
My memory is a little hazy on that but I think the House bill limits the returned mineral area from phase II of the OHWM up to the north boundary of the FBIR, leaving out phase I and the area west of the bridge. There has been some wrangling about how far to go, some legislators want it to go all the way to the confluence of the Yellowstone but there was too much resistance to that idea. You would have to look at the amended bill, I think the definition of the lands is in there.
Today the Senate Energy Committee refused the House amendments to SB2134. The bill is headed to a conference committee. Keep your fingers crossed!
Today the conference committee unanimously passed the House amendments and then sent the bill to the Senate floor where it passed 34 yeas to 8 nays. Lots of high-fiving and laughter at the Stone House tonight.
Poppi V, Senator Unruh said in the video that the bill covers 12 miles west of the bridge but I don't think that is right. The official description in the bill is "
Dogbert, this terrible wrong is beginning to get righted. This battle is finally going to come to a happy ending. I can’t think of any reason why the Governor won’t sign it. I can’t celebrate until it’s really over though and that is when my mineral acres and my royalties are finally restored to me. From the start, when they snatched them, this journey has taken on so many twists and turns. Hopefully , there will be no more surprises. I am watching intently as the legislature wraps it up. Who would have thought the Great State of North Dakota, with its people being the epitome of honesty in my mind, would have perpetrated such an act? I will print out the final signed bill and put it in a frame right next to the framed copy of the royalty check of my returned royalties to remind me of how perserverence and patience works.
Poppi, it's easy to understand. The low population density of the western part of the state and the even lower numbers of people with rights bordering the lake make it look like easy pickings to politicians. Remember that they did it when they were running a record level SURPLUS and not really investing money in the infrastructure of the western part of the state where the surplus was being generated. Politicians look at mineral owners like they are lottery winners, undeserving of what they will receive and thus it is good that the state take as much as they can, for the common good, in their opinion.
Governor Burgum signed SB2134 into law today. "We commend the Legislature for enacting a clear roadmap toward resolution that includes due process for stakeholders,” Burgum said.
I really hope I'm wrong but history shows that due process hasn't worked out for the mineral owners, not even once since this evil scam began.
Here is a link to a brief article in the Bismarck Tribune:
Good luck to all,
I have been following this bill through the legislative process from the beginning. As a Montana Legislator (MT House District 01) and I have read and reread the bill and fiscal note from front to back and then reverse. What started out as a simple one page bill ended up being a 8 page piece of art. The bill does exactly what it says.... Defining the true OHWM as the existing Missouri riverbed as it was in the last survey completed by the US ARMY CORPS of ENGINEERS (USACE) survey completed just prior to inundation when the Garrison Dam was completed. The bill signing starts a 2 year clock that marks the completion deadline for returning the mineral rights to the original owners. There will be a 30 day search for a survey company (not associated with the States 2009 OHWM bogus survey) 60 days for confirming the survey, a 60 day appeal time if there are discrepancies and then the remainder of the 2 year period to complete the return. I'll be keeping an eye on the process to make sure there are no "discrepancies" along the way. If the State wants a fight over a few mineral acres like the tried before; we now have the money to fight them. Plus I have a hammer over an illegal act of them taking the minerals in the first place. I would surmise that they want to be pretty congenial to people due to the fact that they will be open to lawsuits over the initial theft and any "discrepancies" they find... Steve
I am so thankful for the work the legislature did to restore personal property that was illegally taken. They worked very hard, but now , there are those that are attempting to undo all that dedicated work. The land board is meeting Thursday and the attorney general is stirring up trouble. He is saying the legislation is unconstitutional based on an anti gifting clause! It’s just infuriating. So he’s attempting to say if you steal from me you can’t give it back because you will be gifting me? Here is another concern - the press doesn’t seem to have an understanding of the real issue, the state has illegally taken royalties for minerals they stole. The press slants it that it is going to cost the state 187 million dollars. It isn’t going to cost the state anything!!! That’s what the mineral owners had taken from them. Somehow it is never worded to show the state has taken , it is worded the state must give. So, it is not over yet. Last Friday I was so elated this long battle was over - today, not so much. If any of you have press exposure, it would be nice to get the real issue out there. I think the press is being manipulated to misstate the issue. Very concerned and disappointed at this point.
That corrupt S.O.B. is the root of the whole problem. He will never give up the money. You are right that the press is clueless at best and compromised at the worst. I still believe that the state has no intention of returning our mineral rights.
Where did you get the info about the AG and the gifting thing?
I sincerely hope that your reading of the bill is correct. The problem with lawsuits in North Dakota is that the courts are stacked top to bottom with judges who are on board with the mineral theft and in many cases were appointed by the same people who orchestrated the theft in the first place.
Please correct me if I am wrong, but to the best of my knowledge no private mineral owner has ever won a case against the state of ND. This bill leaves everything open to interpretation and approval by the NDIC and that is another huge strike against the mineral owners, in my opinion.