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  • BISMARCK, N.D., Dec 19- Tumbling U.S. oil markets approached an important if obscure milestone on Thursday, closing near a price that could trigger a $5.3 billion, two-year tax break for North Dakota oil drillers as soon as next summer. "We're really at the point where we could start calculating this," Ryan Rauschenberger, North Dakota's tax commissioner, said in an...

  • Tribes tread carefully into marijuana discussions Monday, 22 Dec 2014 | 2:03 PM ET

    "Criminal activity is just going to go up more, and drug addiction is going to go up more, and everyone is going to be affected," said Edmund Yazzie, head of the Navajo Nation Council's Law and Order Committee. The split reaction among Navajo leaders reflects divisions on reservations around the country. Bureau of Indian Affairs assistant secretary and member of the...

  • Top business stories of 2014: US grows, world slows Monday, 22 Dec 2014 | 1:49 PM ET

    Those are some of the top business stories of 2014, as chosen by business editors at The Associated Press. Others include massive product disasters: A string of auto recalls after faulty ignition switches from General Motors Corp. and air bags in many car models caused injuries and deaths. Janet Yellen became the first woman to head the Federal Reserve and U.S....

  • Frack no! Some locals lament NY ban: Report Monday, 22 Dec 2014 | 11:12 AM ET
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo greets fracking protesters outside his office in New York December 17, 2014.

    While some are praising New York's decision to ban fracking, some business owners who were hoping for a drilling-related boom are disappointed.

  • Oil patch towns looking to catch up with demands Monday, 22 Dec 2014 | 9:56 AM ET

    BISMARCK, N.D.— City officials in the North Dakota oil patch say they are forging ahead with housing and infrastructure projects, despite an expected downturn in drilling in the next year. Watford City Mayor Brent Sanford said development and land sales are not slowing down because housing needs for permanent oil field workers have not been met, the Bismarck...

  • FARGO, N.D.— Prosecutors described a Toronto man's massive credit card fraud scheme as high-tech bank robbery— stealing the identities of 38,000 people in order to bilk dozens of banks. Nearly 2½ years later, following the government's petition to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a federal judge ordered Adekunle Adetiloye to pay about $1.5 million in...

  • Nebraska November jobless rate down to 3.1 percent Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 3:12 PM ET

    The Nebraska Labor Department said the rate was also down from the November 2013 rate of 3.7 percent. Nebraska had the second-lowest unemployment rate in the nation in November, trailing North Dakota's 2.7 percent, according the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Last month, Nebraska listed 990,516 people as employed, compared with 986,943 in October and...

  • 1st drone in Nevada test program crashes in demo Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 1:33 PM ET

    BOULDER CITY, Nev.— An aerial drone testing program got off to a bumpy start Friday in Nevada, when the first unmanned aircraft authorized to fly without direct Federal Aviation Administration supervision crashed during a ceremony at a remote site. Company and FAA officials said the drone wasn't damaged. "Protocol is to troubleshoot the problem," said Bruce...

  • Unemployment rates fell in 41 US states last month Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 10:35 AM ET

    The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates rose in only three states: Connecticut, Louisiana, and Washington state. North Dakota's 2.7 percent unemployment rate was lowest in the nation, while Mississippi's 7.3 percent rate was the highest. The biggest job gains occurred in California, which added 90,100 jobs in November, followed by Florida,...

  • US farmers produce bountiful crop of dry beans Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 10:14 AM ET

    The increase was even more pronounced in North Dakota and Minnesota, which together produced about 40 percent of the nation's crop. The big increase in acres— 24 percent in Minnesota and 43 percent in North Dakota compared to planted acres in 2013— more than softened the blow of a drop in average yield of 12-13 percent due to a wet spring and fall.

  • BISMARCK, N.D., Dec 19- Tumbling U.S. oil markets hit an important if obscure milestone on Thursday, closing for the first time at a price that could trigger a $5.3 billion, two-year tax break for North Dakota oil drillers as soon as next summer. "We're really at the point where we could start calculating this," Ryan Rauschenberger, North Dakota's tax commissioner, said...

  • US agriculture has big appetite for Cuba trade Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 1:40 AM ET

    MINNEAPOLIS— U.S. agriculture has a big appetite for freer trade with Cuba. Major U.S. farm groups including the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union, as well as leading agribusinesses such as Cargill Inc., have long advocated normalized trade relations with Cuba, a market of 11 million consumers just 90 miles off U.S. shores.

  • ND officials eager to expand trade with Cuba Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 8:38 AM ET

    BISMARCK, N.D.— The Obama administration's move to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba could lead to increased sales of North Dakota crops to the communist island nation, though some issues would need to be sorted out, officials say. Over the past 12 years, the state has exported an average of about $1 million worth of agricultural goods to Cuba annually...

  • The United States' commercial ties with Cuba were broken 54 years ago after Fidel Castro took over. Now U.S.- Cuba trade is poised to resume: President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced plans to re-establish diplomat relations with Havana, and economic ties are expected to follow. Gary Hufbauer and Barbara Kotschwar of the Peterson Institute for...

  • ND fines company $687,500 for disposal violations Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 2:27 PM ET

    BISMARCK, N.D.— North Dakota regulators assessed a $687,000 fine Wednesday against a Utah company for violating saltwater waste disposal rules. Jack Dalrymple, approved the sanction against Springville, Utah- based Redemption Energy LLC. Lynn Helms, director of the state Department of Mineral Resources, told the commission the company showed "very little...

  • Protections blocked, but sage grouse work goes on Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 11:21 AM ET

    BILLINGS, Mont.— U.S. wildlife officials will decide next year whether a wide-ranging Western bird species needs protections even though Congress has blocked such protections from taking effect, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Wednesday. President Barack Obama signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill late Tuesday with a provision that barred money from...

  • ND taxable sales up 10 percent in third quarter Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 11:12 AM ET

    BISMARCK, N.D.— Taxable sales and purchases in North Dakota in the third quarter of the year totaled nearly $7.7 billion, up more than 10 percent from July, August and September of 2013.. The five cities with the largest percentage increases in taxable sales and purchases all are in the booming western oil patch— Watford City, New Town, Beach, Dickinson and Stanley.

  • WASHINGTON, Dec 16- The new Republican-controlled Senate's first act in January will be approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday. McConnell told reporters that the bill would be based on a measure that failed in the Senate last month that was co-sponsored by North Dakota Republican John Hoeven and Louisiana...

  • Small natural gas leak reported at Mich. pipeline Tuesday, 16 Dec 2014 | 2:20 PM ET

    TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.— A small volume of liquid natural gas seeped into the atmosphere this month from a "pinhole" opening in an Enbridge Energy Partners LP pipeline in the Upper Peninsula, officials said Tuesday. The Dec. 8 leak near Manistique was from a pipe known as Line 5, Enbridge spokesman Jason Manshum told The Associated Press. "This small leak is a wake-up call...

  • Wyoming lawmakers endorse workplace fatality bill Tuesday, 16 Dec 2014 | 7:01 AM ET

    CHEYENNE, Wyo.— Lawmakers on Tuesday advanced a proposal that would sharply increase penalties when employee deaths occur because of safety violations at large companies in Wyoming, which has long been among the top states for workplace deaths. Mary Throne, D- Cheyenne, said it's critical that industry in Wyoming get the message that there are serious...