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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

ND isn't known for EV chargers but statewide network takes next step

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Tuesday, June 25, 2024   

Electric-vehicle owners in North Dakota have long called for more action to boost the state's charging station network. There continues to be mixed messages policy-wise, but officials are moving forward on funding opportunities.

As part of federal funding awarded to all states, North Dakota is now taking applications for private entities to tap into these dollars and place fast-charging stations along Interstates 94 and 29.

Russ Buchholz, innovation manager with the North Dakota Department of Transportation, said a lack of these options has kept North Dakota's EV adoption rate low. But he hopes this latest step will inspire more confidence among current owners, as well as other consumers.

"If they know they can travel through our state pretty much at ease, and these are Level 3 chargers -- so it would take roughly about 15 minutes, maybe a half-hour to charge their vehicle -- I think there'll be a little acceptance," he explained.

Buchholz added this might convince more out-state-travelers to pass through North Dakota. The federal program pays up to 80% of project costs, but state lawmakers heavily restricted government agencies, including municipalities, from participating.

Separately, Gov. Doug Burgum has publicly criticized the movement, but ultimately agreed for the state to join regional planning for EV infrastructure.

In an oil-producing state with a largely rural backdrop, Buchholz admits opinions on EVs can be strong. He said if not enough applicants come forward to construct and own privately operated charging stations, they'll have to go back to the Legislature in hopes government agencies will get their chance.

"And that would allow, I'll say, a little more freedom and maybe a better partnership, " Buchholz continued.

No matter the political appetite, Buchholz predicts more of the transportation sector will be running on electric sources in the future. That's even with North Dakota now having fewer than one thousand registered EVs. He pointed to other developments -- such as construction equipment maker Bobcat producing electric machinery in Bismarck -- as examples that might help win over skeptics.


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