Senator Heidi Heitkamp United States Senator for North Dakota


North Dakota is the epicenter for innovative, all-of-the-above energy development and production in the U.S., and Senator Heitkamp has been at the forefront of forging consensus among Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate around commonsense policies to boost domestic energy production and exports and support energy jobs. She has accomplished major victories for North Dakota energy by leading the fight to end the 40 year-old ban on exporting domestic oil in 2015, providing long term certainty for the wind industry through extending a vital tax provision, and getting signed into law landmark legislation she wrote to forge a viable path forward for North Dakota coal in a carbon-constrained world.

Senator Heitkamp believes North Dakota is a model for a true 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 continuing to thrive. 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. By working to replicate this comprehensive approach, Senator Heitkamp aims to truly achieve national energy security and North American energy independence.

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Senator Heitkamp’s work to find a realistic path forward for coal builds on her more than a decade of experience on the board of directors of Dakota Gasification in Beulah, N.D. During her service as North Dakota’s Tax Commissioner, on the North Dakota Industrial Commission, and as the state’s Attorney General, Heitkamp was able to work on viable solutions to make sure coal remains a strong part of the North Dakota’s energy mix. Click here for a timeline of Senator Heitkamp’s extensive work to forge a viable path forward for coal.  

Senator Heitkamp worked for years to write and successfully pass into law her bipartisan FUTURE Act, which extends and expands the 45Q tax credit to provide certainty to utilities and other industrial sources, and incentivizes the build-out of industrial carbon capture utilization and storage projects that plan to use carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery and carbon utilization— the conversion of carbon dioxide into useable products. Senator Heitkamp built on the success of the FUTURE Act by introducing bipartisan legislation to strengthen support for carbon utilization and direct air capture research. Her bill would also incentivize federal, state, and non-governmental collaboration in the construction and development of CCUS facilities and CO2 pipelines.

Approximately 70 percent 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. 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. Her work so far has resulted in the roll-back of the stream buffer rule, lifting the moratorium on coal leasing, and a proposed replacement for the a one-size-fits-all and unworkable rule that would have severly impacted reliability and energy costs for North Dakotans.

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Senator Heitkamp played a  lead role in negotiating the bipartisan deal that led to the 40 year-old ban on exporting oil getting lifted in 2015, which has led to record levels of U.S. oil exports and fueled additional investment and prosperity for communities across the state and country. For more than a year and a half, Senator Heitkamp worked with Republican U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska to build support for lifting the ban, reach a deal to gain bipartisan support for it, and get enough votes to change this outdated policy. Click here for a timeline of her work to lift the ban.

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 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. She also introduced bills to expedite natural gas exports by speeding up the approval process to export liquified natural gas, as well as help reduce flaring and capture and process more natural gas across North Dakota by reducing federal permit delays for pipeline siting. And In 2014, the Senate unanimously passed Senator Heitkamp’s bill to reauthorize and make permanent a federal program that brought multiple agencies involved in energy permitting under one roof to review oil and gas permits on public lands more efficiently and effectively. 


Senator Heitkamp’s bipartisan deal to lift the ban on exporting oil in 2015 included a five year extension of the Production Tax Credit through 2019 -- which Senator Heitkamp had long pushed for. As a result, it has allowed North Dakota’s wind energy industry to thrive, boosting wind energy development in the state and creating jobs. – Senator Heitkamp received the American Wind Energy Association’s Wind Champion Award in 2018 for her years of support and advocacy to boost wind energy jobs and production throughout North Dakota and the country.

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.


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.