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Oil boom in western ND leads to court cases

A oil pumping rig being erected in McKenzie County west of Watford City, North Dakota. By Tim Evanson [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
A oil pumping rig being erected in McKenzie County west of Watford City, North Dakota. By Tim Evanson [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

WATFORD CITY, N.D. (AP) -- Western North Dakota's oil boom has led to a surge in court cases to determine who owns land.

More people are trying to figure out if they own mineral-rich land.

People who thought they had land are trying to determine ownership.

The state has seen an increase in legal actions called quiet titles, cases that determine who owns land.

In Northwest District courts, those cases have increased from 24 in 2006 to 141 in 2012.

In the Southwest District courts, the cases have risen from nine in 2006 to 122 last year.

Officials say the cases can be challenging because deeds go back decades.

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