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North Dakota State Land Right-of-Way (3-ND-b)

In North Dakota, a developer may need to obtain a State Land Right-of-Way Permit (“Permit”) from the North Dakota Department of Trust Lands (“NDDTL”) prior to constructing transmission lines on state land. NDDTL manages state lands pursuant to N.D. Constitution Art. IX and N.D.C.C. § 15-01.


State Land Right-of-Way Process

3-ND-b.1 – Right-of-Way Application

The developer should submit a Right-of-Way Application (“Application”) to NDDTL. An Application typically takes 3-4 weeks to process. NDDTL provides a form online where the developer can input information and submit the Application electronically. NDDTL also allows the developer to print out the online form and submit a hard copy by mail, but NDDTL notes that a hard copy may take longer to process. NDDTL Right-of-Way Application Procedures Webpage. In the Application, the developer should include:

  • The type of right-of-way being sought;
  • The purpose of the project;
  • A detailed description of the project equipment and structures;
  • A legal description of the state lands the project will cross;
  • The person of contact for the project, and his or her contact information;
  • The developer’s contact information;
  • The name and address of the company project supervisor in charge of the construction;
  • The contact information for the person responsible for monitoring the reclamation of the area (re-vegetation and erosion control) after the construction is completed;
  • The consideration the developer is proposing for the right-of-way; and
  • Any other information the developer wishes to provide.

Right-of-Way Application Webpage.

In addition to submitting the online Application, the developer must also submit a general route map of the entire project showing the proposed route on both private and public lands with a rough scale of no less than one-half (½) inch per mile. The general route map must be submitted by email in PDF format. An example of a route map can be found here: NDDTL General Route Map Example. Right-of-Way Application Webpage.

NDDTL requires an Application fee, which NDDTL calculates upon receiving an Application and bills the fee to the email address listed by the developer. Right-of-Way Application Webpage.

3-ND-b.2 to 3-ND-b.3 – Review Application Materials for Completeness

Upon receiving an Application, NDDTL reviews the Application for completeness. If the Application is not complete, NDDTL notifies the developer of the deficiencies.

3-ND-b.4 – Does NDDTL Approve the Proposed Route?

NDDTL reviews the route proposed in the Application. If NDDTL approves the route, NDDTL notifies the developer that the route is approved.

3-ND-b.5 – Conduct Centerline Survey

After receiving approval of the route from NDDTL, the developer should have a centerline survey completed for the portion of the project that crosses state land. The developer must send the survey to the contact listed on the Right-of-Way Application Webpage. The centerline survey should include:

  • A survey plat drawn to scale showing the centerline of the easement across state land including:
    • Entry and exit points;
    • Directions;
    • Distances from quarter or section corners; and
    • Points of intersection with quarter lines;
  • A written narrative of centerline description including:
    • Distances between P.I.’s;
    • Angles at P.I.’s; and
    • Points of entry, exit and intersection with quarter lines tied into the section corner or quarter section corner of the state tract; and
  • Prominent geographic and geologic features such as creeks, draws, escarpments and trees.

NDDTL Right-of-Way Application Procedures Webpage.

3-ND-b.6 – Review Proposed Project

Once NDDTL receives the centerline survey from the developer, NDDTL reviews the proposed project. The review may include:

  • An on-site inspection of affected tract by NDDTL staff;
  • Cooperative planning between NDDTL staff and the developer if the proposed project must be altered; and
  • Contacting the State Historical Society and State Geological Survey concerning any cultural or fossil resources within the affected tract.

NDDTL Right-of-Way Application Procedures Webpage.

3-ND-b.7 – Pay Permit Fee

The developer must pay the applicable Permit fee when it is requested by NDDTL. NDDTL Right-of-Way Application Procedures Webpage.

3-ND-b.8 to 3-ND-b.9 – Review Proposed Project

The final review and approval of a proposed Permit is made by the State Land Commissioner, unless the State Land Commission delegates that authority to the Board of University and School Lands. NDDTL Right-of-Way Application Procedures Webpage.

3-ND-b.10 – Right-of-Way Permit

If the proposed project is approved, NDDTL issues a Permit to the developer. The developer must keep a copy of the permit on site at all times. NDDTL provides an Example of a Completed Permit for developers to study.

The Permit automatically terminates if the construction is not completed in one (1) year after the Permit is issued, unless determined otherwise by NDDTL. NDDTL may also terminate the Permit, require the developer to move structures, or require the developer to pay NDDTL additional amounts if the NDDTL determines that the developer’s project negatively interferes with or affects the marketability, market value, development, or the value for development of the land. If NDDTL decides to terminate the Permit, because of the project’s interference with subsurface mineral rights, NDDTL provides the developer with sixty (60) days notice of the termination. General Permit Terms.

3-ND-b.11 – Appeal Decision

Any party aggrieved by the decision from NDDTL may request a rehearing by NDDTL within thirty (30) days after the order is issued by NDDTL. The hearing must be conducted pursuant to N.D.C.C. § 28-32.


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Edit North Dakota Department of Trust Lands
Land Professional (701) 328-1948 DtlRequest@ndabbazabbagov Visit Website