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ND GOP chairman's comments on oil cause stir

Robert Harms
Robert Harms

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- Some North Dakota Republican lawmakers say they're disappointed in comments made by the state party chairman calling for a slowdown in oil drilling in the western oil patch. Chairman Robert Harms made the comment last week after an oil train derailed and caught fire on the outskirts of Casselton.

He says he was voicing a personal opinion -- and not speaking on behalf of the party. But some members of the Republican caucus say Harms' comment was interpreted as being on behalf of the party.

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner says the comment doesn't reflect his views. Wardner says he hopes party members can resolve the flap through internal discussions so it doesn't lead to division.