INTRODUCTIONHouse Concurrent Resolution No. 3043 directs the Legislative Council to study the feasibility and desirability of implementing hail suppression programs for the reduction of property damage in urban and rural areas and funding the programs through property and casualty line insurance premium taxes
NEIGHBORING STATES AND PROVINCEIn Alberta, Canada, insurance companies and brokers established the Alberta Severe Weather Management Society to administer a cloud seeding program
Montana Statutes Chapter 85-3 authorizes the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation to perform hail suppression operations.
Although the Montana and South Dakota weather modification law was patterned on North Dakota weather modification law, neither state is active in weather modification. The Alberta project is the only known project addressing urban and rural hail suppression.
The North Dakota Cloud Modification Project Operations Manual, published by the State Water Commission's Atmospheric Resource Board, describes operational cloud seeding in North Dakota as beginning in the 1950s when ground-based seeding began in the western portion of the state.
In 1975 the North Dakota Weather Modification Board was created as a division of the Aeronautics Commission. State cost-sharing was made available in 1976.
The two purposes of the program are to suppress hail and to enhance rainfall.
The article "An Exploratory Analysis of Crop Hail Insurance Data for Evidence of Cloud Seeding Effects in North Dakota" in the May 1997 issue of the Journal of Applied Meteorology refers to studies of the climatology of hail damage to crops which show North Dakota experiences the highest insurance dollar loss of any state in the United States and southwestern North Dakota has the highest ratio of damage claims paid to insured crop liability.
The reduction in hail crop insurance loss ratios in the six program counties is estimated to be 45 percent.
North Dakota North Dakota Atmospheric Resource Board:
North Dakota Century Code (NDCC) Chapter 61-04.1 relates to weather modification.
Section 61-04.1-08 creates the North Dakota Atmospheric Resource Board as a division of the State Water Commission. Hail suppression falls within the definition of weather modification.
The board may contract with any person, the federal government, or any county or group of counties to provide weather modification operations.
Additionally, Section 58-03-07 authorizes township electors to use township funds for weather modification activities.
This study can be broken down into two main issues.
The first issue is whether a hail suppression program to reduce property damages is desired and, if so, if it is desired statewide.
Implementation of a hail suppression program could be statewide, the western portion of the state, or through pilot projects.
The logistics of cloud seeding is technical in nature, and there are a variety of resources to rely on to gather this information.
Information regarding the amount of damage caused by hail in urban areas may be difficult to gather.
Legislative action may be required to create this pool of data within the state insurance industry.The second issue is if cloud seeding is determined by the committee to be a desired program, whether an appropriate funding source can be established.
If an insurance premium tax is established, factors to consider include the cost of administering the program, how to deal with fluctuations in the amount of insurance premium tax moneys, and the impact an additional premium tax will have on the insurance industry within the state.