Serving The Bakken And Beyond

Wilkinson Missouri River Royalty Payout Delayed By State Appeal

A group of Missouri River mineral owners will be forced to wait longer for a payout from the state of North Dakota, as the state engineer dropped a last minute appeal with the ND Supreme Court, questioning the decision of Dist. Judge Paul W. Jacobson.

The appeal, filed by Deputy Atty. Gen. Jenifer L. Verleger, is contending that the district judge made a mistake in giving quiet title to the disputed property in Williams County in portions of sections 12 and 13, T153N-R102W.

At stake is at least $1 million in royalties owed to William S. Wilkinson and 14 other mineral owners that have title to 286 acres on the edge of the Missouri River, west of the Hwy. 85 bridge near Williston.

The mineral owners contended the state improperly asserted ownership of the minerals, arguing that the Ordinary High Water Mark was established by Lake Sakakawea and not the Missouri River.

Verleger’s notice of appeal questioned whether the Wilkinson family made a mistake by not responding to objections originally made by the ND state engineer.

“Material factual questions exist that impact the ability to quiet title to the disputed property,” Verleger’s appeal said.

Jacobson’s summary judgement followed a ND State Supreme Court decision in 2017, which reversed the district court’s ruling that the state had rightful ownership of the contested land because it has title to beds of navigable waters up to the current ordinary high water mark.