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ND lawmakers votes to close loophole used by oil

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- The North Dakota Legislature has voted to close a tax loophole used by the oil industry that the Tax Department says is costing the state $50 million each year.

The measure also gives the Three Affiliated Tribes a greater share of the taxes collected from reservation oil production.

The governor still must approve the measure.

Attempts to close the so-called stripper well loophole have failed in the past three legislative sessions. Stripper wells are exempt from the state's 6.5 percent extraction tax, but not a 5 percent production tax.

Two bills also failed this session that attempted to close the exemption enjoyed by the oil companies in exchange for lower tax rates.

Lawmakers took up the issue again on the last day of the 80-day session.