Wolf Point Herald

Culbertson Voters Return Incumbents To School Board; Froid Passes Four Levies

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Culbertson voters returned school trustees Amanda Cullinan and Ronald Larsen to office Tuesday, May 6.
Larsen received 130 votes and Cullinan had 100. Write-in candidate Cassandra Bergum received 85 votes.
Superintendent Larry Crowder said the voter turnout was 25.64 percent.
Bainville
No election was needed in Bainville. Dana Berwick was unopposed for reelection and was elected by acclamation.
Froid
Andrea Miller was unopposed in her bid for the Froid School Board and was elected by acclamation.
Froid voter approved four levies.
A high school levy passed 44-8, a general fund levy for the elementary school passed 45-9, a building reserve levy elementary school passed 44-10 and a building reserve levy for the high school passed 44-10.

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One Injury Reported In Amtrak Derailment Near Bainville Monday

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A passenger took this photo shortly after the derailment that shows one of the two passenger cars off the track and damaged track.         (Photo by Susan Cook, Amtrak Passenger)

One person was hospitalized when two passenger cars on Amtrak’s Minneapolis to Portland and Seattle Empire Builder route derailed near Bainville Monday, April 28.
The westbound cars went off the track at a switch about 2 p.m. Both cars remained upright.
Amtrak reported that 117 passengers were onboard the 13-car train.
Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the train was delayed three and a half hours. It was held temporarily at Culbertson.
An eastbound Amtrak train was delayed 15 hours while a crew from Burlington Northern/Santa Fe repaired damaged track.
“One passenger was looked at the scene by EMS and then looked at Roosevelt Medical Center in Culbertson,” Magliari said.
The unidentified passenger was released from the hospital.
“The tracks were closed because of track damage and disabled cars and reopened this morning,” Magliari said Tuesday, April 29.
Matt Jones, BNSF director of public affairs, said the track was returned to service at 5 a.m.
He said he did not immediately have an estimate of the cost of the damage.
“There could be delays of 36 hours on shipments on this corridor,” Jones said.
Roosevelt County emergency management, sheriff’s deputies and emergency medical personnel responded to the scene.
“We appreciate the reactions of the local emergency responders,” Magliari said.
The Montana Department of Transportation closed Montana Hwy. 327 near the derailment and set up a detour for motor vehicle traffic.
The cause of the derailment remains under investigation by Amtrak and the BNSF.

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DEQ Seeks Compliance From Suspected Bainville Radioactive Dump

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This unpermitted waste dump near Bainville continues to operate according to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.                                    (Submitted photo)


The state of Montana is seeking environmental compliance by a Louisiana company that operates a Bakken oilfield waste dump near Bainville that is suspected to be a radioactive site. Non-compliance could mean shuttering the facility.
The Department of Environmental Quality recently sent a letter to Dual Trucking and Transport, of Houma, La., seeking compliance that includes permitting.
DEQ Enforcement Division administrator John Arrigo said the state regulatory agency first received complaints about the facility during April, May and June 2012.
DEQ recommended that Dual Transport halt operations in September 2012 until the company obtained a permit. DEQ also told Dual to hire a qualified consultant to develop a cleanup plan.
The company later began the permit process, but then declined state requests for further information, later informing DEQ the company was no longer processing oilfield waste and didn’t need a permit.
“We sent them a deficiency in November and they have not replied to that, so the application is not completed and we cannot issue a license,” Arrigo said.
Arrigo said Monday, April 28, that he believed the facility was continuing to operate.
He said Dual Transport’s attorney sent DEQ a letter alleging that the company is no longer processing solid waste and does not need a license.
“On April 11, an inspector visited and they were operating and cleaning up,” he said.
“[Dual] told us they are removing contaminated soil and disposing of it in Canada,” Arrigo said and added that the DEQ was not informed of where in Canada.
He said oil and gas exploration materials are exempt from federal requirements that require placards on trucks. He said he did not know what Canadian requirements are.
“If they don’t voluntarily shut down, they are in violation,” Arrigo said.
The DEQ cannot go in and close the facility without court approval.
“We have to go to court and have a judge issue an injunction,” Arrigo said.
“If we can allege a threat to the environment, the chances of shutting them down are better,” he said.
Waste that is classified as NORM is slightly radioactive, containing naturally occurring radioactive material. Oilfield waste contains radon, which is a gas. The other radioactive substance is radium, a solid. Both give off radioactive particles.
North Dakota produces the majority of oil field waste in the region, but lacks a radioactive waste facility.
Montana allows higher levels of radioactive waste than North Dakota.
Four Montana waste handlers have applied for permits, including one landfill near Glendive that is already operational.
Arrigo also expressed concern that the site is in close proximity to a wetlands that could be threatened by storm water runoff and within a few hundred yards of a residential development.
Arrigo said he did not know if the waste comes from drilling operations in Montana or if it is generated in North Dakota. He acknowledged that the majority of Bakken drilling is on the North Dakota side of the border.
“We don’t know what they are doing. We don’t know what they are considering clean. We don’t know what they are reburying,” Arrigo said. “We need to pin down the facts and have them stop until it is assessed.”

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DEQ Begins Process To Permit Culbertson Radioactive Waste Dump

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality began a permitting process during February that could eventually allow Clay Butte, a Minnesota company, to establish a radioactive Bakken Oilfield waste dump near Culbertson.
The proposed disposal site would be placed on 149 acres of a 160-acre site on the west side of Montana Hwy. 16, about five miles north of Culbertson.
There are at least 12 residences within one mile of the site.
“It’s going through the completeness review process,” Rick Thompson, DEQ section supervisor, said Monday, April 28. He added that the application was submitted to the state regulatory agency about two months ago.
“Questions will be asked for the applicant to respond back to us. An environmental assessment for public comment will be the next step,” Thompson said.
“It could take over a year. It varies for each facility,” he said.
Thompson said a public meeting is likely in Culbertson at some point in the future.
Waste at the proposed site could contain material that is known by the acronym NORM (reoccurring radioactive material). It comes from drilling site mud, drill cuttings and oil filter socks that fluid runs through.
Waste that is classified as NORM is slightly radioactive, containing naturally occurring radioactive material. Oilfield waste contains radon, which is a gas. The other radioactive substance is radium, a solid. Both give off radioactive particles.
North Dakota produces the majority of oil field waste in the region, but lacks a radioactive waste facility.
Montana allows higher levels of radioactive waste than North Dakota.
Four Montana waste handlers have applied for permits, including one landfill near Glendive that is already operational.
Culbertson Mayor Gordon Oelkers has expressed concern about the proposal. He said recently that he believes the DEQ will approve the proposal.

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Tons Of Fertilizer Shipped To Roosevelt County

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Ag Partners’ Pat Wilkinson stands in a large bin hours before it was filled with fertilizer. Off loading from the 109 freight cars took nearly a full day. Joe Robinson sits in the loader.     (Photo by John Plestina)


Local farmers shouldn’t have to worry about getting fertilizer this year with a shipment of 11,445 tons in 109 freight cars that arrived at Ag Partners east of Wolf Point Friday, April 25.
It was the largest shipment ever from a Galveston, Texas, fertilizer plant.
Ag Partners orders a lot of fertilizer for customers, but it is rare to get a train that can accommodate a single shipment of that size.
“It’s a big thing, because the supply of fertilizer is pretty short right now,” Ag Partners’ Pat Wilkinson said.
“Logistics in this area makes it hard to get it,” general manager Brandon Babb said.
“Due to the Bakken [oilfield] and the increased demand for rail cars and crews, logistics have been tough on agriculture. That is one reason we ordered such a big train,” Babb said.
“The two main reasons why we chose to build this mega-plant is supply and speed. It is going to be key in the future to be able to have the supply in season and have the speed to get it transferred to the other Ag Partners plants as well as keeping our producers supplied,” Babb noted.
The fertilizer was pre-sold to area farmers between October and March.
Ag Partners, a 50-50 partnership between CHS Farmers Elevator and Agland Co-op, has locations throughout Montana including Nashua, Brockton, Vida, Froid, Circle and Glasgow.
Ag Partners began operation Jan. 1, 2012.
Services provided include delivery of fertilizers and chemicals, crop consulting, budgeting and planning, soil sampling, spray water analysis and on-farm trials.

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