ISSUES AND PRIORITIES
North Dakota is blessed with abundance natural resources. Agriculture is engrained in our state’s identity, and technology and innovation have unlocked vast energy resources that power not only our state, but our nation. The responsible development of both industries has bolstered our economy, created unprecedented wealth for our state, and supported more new jobs and careers than ever before.
As these industries continue to grow and bring more people and ideas to the state, new opportunities are being created in technology, research and development that are allowing North Dakota to also become a leader in innovation. The continued growth of all these sectors, however, must have a strong foundation and infrastructure, and Randy remains committed to strengthen the state’s ability to develop and deliver these crucial products and services.
In the last decade, we’ve seen North Dakota become the second largest oil-producing state in the nation behind only Texas. The state’s role in the recent American Energy Renaissance has helped the nation move closer to energy independence and stabilize energy prices for consumers.
Although North Dakota has been an oil producing state for more than 65 years, the rapid growth in development far outpaced its existing infrastructure. Over the past five years, however, the PSC and state leadership have made tremendous progress in building out the state’s infrastructure, which has enabled our state to more safely and efficiently transport crude oil to markets across the nation and help industry capture and transport more natural gas. During Randy’s first term, more than $13 billion was invested in new gathering systems and processing facilities, resulting in a 54 percent drop in flaring and a 61 percent increase in gas plant capacity and generation of clean, affordable energy from natural gas.
The PSC and state have also been diligent in allowing for the development of new, state-of-the-art crude oil pipelines, which have helped alleviate truck and rail traffic, allowing for safer roads for our people and more rail capacity for our ag producers. Pipelines are also the more cost effective means of oil transportation and expanded capacity has reduced the discount the state sees on its rich natural resources, which has returned more money to the state and private mineral owners.
Although we have made great progress, we must ensure the integrity of our infrastructure endures, and Randy will remain committed to holding companies accountable to the maintenance of systems and safeguarding of our other natural resources, while also advocating for landowners’ rights.
TRANSMISSION AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
The rapid growth of our energy industries has been matched only by our state’s population. As our cities and businesses have grown, so has the need for dependable utilities, including affordable electricity and fast internet.
Over the last five years, Randy and the PSC have worked to permit and approve major high-voltage powerlines to serve the electricity needs of western North Dakota that is powered by North Dakota’s vast coal and natural gas resources.
The development of our energy resources and infrastructure is vital to supporting our economy, but it must be balanced with the rights of our landowners and preservation of our land in mind. As a rancher and landowner, a legislator in energy country and through his service on the PSC, Randy has extensive experience in working with both landowners and industry and bringing them together to come to agreement that will benefit both. This means ensuring that landowners have the opportunity to provide input and that reclamation of their land remains a top priority following the construction or operation of a project.
PRESERVING OUR LANDS AND LAWS
With North Dakota’s growth in energy development, many outside organizations and agencies have attempted to gain control of our regulatory role and impose burdensome regulations. This has threatened our economic progress and increased the cost of our utilities and cost of living. We must remain alert and reassert our success in regulating our own industries and allow for the lawful and responsible development of infrastructure projects.
Our state has done a tremendous job in putting the laws and regulations in place that ensure the safety and protection of some of our greatest natural resources: our land, air and water. North Dakota currently enjoys some of the cleanest air and water in the nation. Randy will remain dedicated to making sure it stays that way by following the laws and fighting to maintain the local control that keep North Dakota a great place to live.