Forum staff reports, Published February 04 2013
North Dakota wins mineral rights caseWILLISTON, N.D. – A district judge has ruled in favor of the state of North Dakota in a dispute over mineral rights near the Missouri River, but the issue likely is headed to the state Supreme Court.
Northwest Judicial District Judge David Nelson ruled in a decision dated Jan. 28 and filed Monday that the state of North Dakota owns the minerals in the “shore zone,” or the area on navigable waterways between the ordinary high and low watermarks.
The dispute, which involved several private mineral rights owners, focuses on a 50-mile area of the Missouri River between North Dakota and Montana.
Nelson notes in his ruling that his decision is not necessarily the final word on the issue and that “circumstances may warrant an immediate appeal.”
Attorney Jan Conlin of Minneapolis law firm Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi did not immediately return a call seeking comment Monday. Conlin told a Bloomberg reporter they intend to appeal.