North Dakota has become the epicenter for energy development and production in the U.S. Our state has been blessed with abundant natural resources and is situated geographically to also be a leader in renewable forms of energy and fuels. This diverse energy mix has allowed the energy industry to match-up favorably with agriculture in our state to form a solid backbone for a thriving economy in North Dakota. Energy in North Dakota means more than just providing electricity to keep the lights on. In our state it means good paying jobs, a growing population, low unemployment, increased revenue for infrastructure and other critical needs, development of new and innovate technologies and methods, and industries that have brought small communities across this state back to life.
Senator Heitkamp believes North Dakota is a model for an all-of-the-above approach when it comes to taking advantage of our abundant energy resources in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. Oil and natural gas drilling are booming. Wind energy and biofuels are only continuing to grow. And coal continues to be a vital and abundant source of energy. As a former director of the one-of-a-kind Dakota Gasification synfuels plant, Senator Heitkamp has a long record of serving as a champion for North Dakota's energy industry and energy jobs, and she has a keen understanding of how a diverse energy strategy benefits North Dakota and the country. It is crucial to replicate this comprehensive approach in developing and maintaining a diverse energy mix at the national level, and by doing so we can truly achieve national energy security and North American energy independence.
To facilitate the development of a national all-of-the-above energy policy, Senator Heitkamp will continue to point the spotlight on the need for a diverse energy portfolio that meets our nation’s energy needs while also helping our energy industries grow and thrive in the global marketplace.
An all-of-the above energy strategy should also extend to energy transportation. To rely only on one form of transportation to dominate would be shortsighted and a risk to national energy security in the event of a natural disaster or other unforeseen circumstance that would slow or halt a single mode of transportation. Pipeline, rail, truck, and ships all offer viable and crucial means of energy transportation in this country.
Pipelines remain one of the best and safest modes of transportation for moving large quantities of oil and natural gas to refiners and eventually to market. Senator Heitkamp will continue to advocate for the build out of increased pipeline infrastructure and capacity in this country, which almost always provides a safe and reliable mode of energy transportation.
Senator Heitkamp is committed to finding a path forward for coal and coal-fired power. Approximately 80% of North Dakota’s electricity is still delivered via coal-fired power and continues to provide some of the most reliable, redundant, and affordable energy to many regions throughout the country. In North Dakota, coal is a critical part of our energy supply - providing some of the lowest electric rates in teh country and supporting more than 13,000 jobs in the state.
Senator Heitkamp recognizes we now live in a carbon constrained world and that through continued innovation we can further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make coal “cleaner.” But under the guise of achieving these goals, too often legislation and regulations in Washington look to do nothing more than shut down coal production and shutter coal-fired power plants. Heitkamp has and will continue to push back against rules and regulations that are unworkable and that aim to put coal-fired power plants out of business.
Rather, Senator Heitkamp is seeking a viable path forward for coal through realistic solutions. Heitkamp wrote major legislation to make it affordable for coal plants to lower their carbon pollution by incentivizing utilities companies to invest in clean coal technologies. Her legislation, the Advanced Clean Coal Technology Investment in Our Nation Act, would enable coal-fired power to remain a key energy source well into the future, keep energy prices low, defend coal jobs, and support a true all-of-the-above energy strategy. This bill incentivizes clean coal technology research and development through federal funding programs, federal support for private investment, and recommendations to Congress that provide insight on how best to support future clean coal projects in the U.S.
Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have transformed the economic and physical landscape of North Dakota. The abundant natural resources contained in our shale formations in Western North Dakota have greatly benefitted our state in terms of jobs, population growth, and increased revenue. Senator Heitkamp is dedicated to making sure we are able to continue to responsibly develop our oil reserves and increase production capacity in order to help move the U.S. toward North American energy independence.
To advance these goals, Senator Heitkamp has worked to address permitting backlogs on federal and Indian lands and make sure states like North Dakota retain regulatory primacy over hydraulic fracturing.
The same advanced technologies and methods that have brought North Dakota increased oil development have also brought about massive increases in the production of natural gas in our state. This is yet another vital energy resource that we must continue to develop and support. Natural gas is a game changer for both electrical generation and an alternative fuel source and, similar to our increased oil production, it has shifted the geopolitical dynamic on how the U.S. approaches overseas conflicts in key energy producing regions.
Many of the same measures Senator Heitkamp has worked on to promote increased development and production of oil, are also aimed at doing the very same for natural gas. Another measure Senator Heitkamp has helped lead is an effort to open up the ability for increased exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). By opening up LNG to new markets, we will increase demand and move producers in North Dakota to expedite their efforts to capture the flared natural gas by building additional pipeline infrastructure and storage facilities.
Wind generated power and the wind industry are key to North Dakota’s economy and a major contributor to our diverse energy portfolio. From our manufacturing facility in Grand Forks, to the wind turbine technician program at Lake Region State College, and the numerous wind farms spread throughout central and western North Dakota, wind energy has transformed the landscape of North Dakota, economically, educationally, and physically.
Senator Heitkamp will continue to work with various utilities, manufacturers, and institutions that are playing a major role in the expansion of wind energy in North Dakota. In order to provide the atmosphere for continued growth in the industry, Senator Heitkamp will keep working on various measures that aim to provide greater long-term certainty to the industry so that utilities across the country can continue to bring additional projects online and provide renewable energy at competitive prices to their consumers.
North Dakota continues to be a leader in ethanol production and the development of advanced biofuels and cellulosic fuel sources. These advanced biofuels have rapidly become a key driver for North Dakota’s economy and not only support direct jobs in the industry, but have resulted in increased revenues for our farmers, and additional research and development opportunities for our state universities.
The jobs created by this industry are a vital part of the North Dakotan economy, and Senator Heitkamp continues to support of our farmers and biofuel producers by opposing efforts to weaken the Renewable Fuel Standard. She will also continue working on measures that would provide additional research and development funding for other advanced biofuels and cellulosic sources.