Judge sides with family in Lake Sakakawea mineral dispute
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A judge has sided with a family in a lawsuit over oil and gas mineral rights under a Missouri River reservoir.
The Bismarck Tribune reports Northwest District Judge Paul Jacobson issued the decision late last week after the state Supreme Court reversed his initial ruling and sent the case back for further consideration.
The lawsuit centers around who owns the mineral interest under land that the federal government acquired from the Wilkinson family in 1958 as part of the Garrison Dam project that created Lake Sakakawea.
The judge initially sided with the state, and the family appealed. The family argued it was unconstitutional for the state to take the mineral rights.
A family attorney says the decision could impact hundreds of mineral owners with interests under Lake Sakakawea.