Regional Briefs

United Airlines adds air service in Williston

WILLISTON United Airlines will add daily United Express service from Williston to Houston beginning Aug. 19 with one daily roundtrip on a 50-seat regional jet.

United’s passenger boardings have increased sharply owing to western North Dakota’s rapidly growing economy and population. United began Williston service to Denver in November 2012 with three daily roundtrip flights and added a fourth roundtrip flight in November 2013.

“By providing access to Houston, another major United hub, these new flights will help meet the demand for expanded air service driven by a growing economy in western North Dakota,” said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., in announcing the new air service.

United began twice-daily flights in and out of Dickinson in June 2013. The airline added a third flight from Dickinson to Denver in April 2014.

Bill blocks charging for Lake Sakakawea water

The Senate and House Conference Committee have reached an agreement on a bill authorizing to block the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from charging residents and businesses for surplus water from Lake Sakakawea.

The Corps wanted to charge an unprecedented fee for using water from the Missouri River reservoirs.

“North Dakota has fought long and hard to preserve its legitimate right of our people to use the Missouri River to support their homes, farms, ranches and businesses. Our legislation makes clear that there is no federal authority to charge fees for water that historically, legally and ethically belongs to the citizens and tribes of North Dakota,” said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp joined Hoeven in securing the provision in the Water Resources Development Act when it was considered in the Senate to prevent the Corps from charging a fee for water from the reservoirs.

The state was promised it would be able to use the water to meet its needs in exchange for losing hundreds of thousands of acres of prime bottom land to the construction of the Garrison Dam more than 60 years ago, according to information from Heitkamp’s office.

The measure also includes authorization for permanent flood protection in the Red River Valley.

With the agreement, the bill can move forward for its final vote.