By Ernest Scheyder TOWNER North Dakota (Reuters) - North Dakota's biggest oil producers have picked a side and put money into an obscure election for the state's agriculture commissioner, hoping to ward off a rising Democratic challenger who could limit development of new wells and pipelines. With a legislature that meets only every two years, North Dakota has given an unusual amount of power to the agriculture commissioner and two other members of the state's Industrial Commission, charging the triumvirate with oversight of permitting and other issues critical to the oil industry, which hopes to drill 35,000 new wells within 15 years. North Dakota produces 1 million barrels of oil each day - more than any state except Texas and even some OPEC members - affording Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, a Republican, outsized influence over energy development thanks to his seat on the commission alongside the governor and attorney general. Now, Goehring, armed with donations from executives and political action committees at Continental Resources Inc, Whiting Petroleum Corp, Marathon Oil Corp and other companies active in the state's Bakken shale oil formation, is in the fight of his political life.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's health care law is enmeshed in another big legal battle after two federal appeals courts issued contradictory rulings on a key financing issue within hours of each other Tuesday.