Senators Kent Conrad and John Hoeven and Governor Jack Dalrymple today touted North Dakota's energy sector as a key contributor to securing U.S. energy independence, and said the state's energy sectors provide tremendous opportunities to create jobs and grow the economy. The North Dakota leaders welcomed national energy leaders to Bismarck State College's National Energy Center of Excellence for the Great Plains & EmPower ND Energy Expo, a day-long energy policy conference focused on energy infrastructure, navigating regulations, and finding ways to add value to energy resources.
"Today our state is making enormous contributions to meeting our energy needs and I believe North Dakota will help our nation become energy independent within five to seven years," Hoeven said. "In North Dakota, we built the right comprehensive energy policy--Empower North Dakota--and put in place a strong legal, tax and regulatory environment to grow all of our energy resources. We'll continue working on the national level to put in place, piece by piece, a comprehensive, national energy policy that will spur economic growth, build infrastructure like the Keystone XL pipeline, provide regulatory certainty and make our nation more secure."
As a member of the Senate Energy Committee, Hoeven is working, as he did as Governor of North Dakota, to build a comprehensive energy policy for the nation. The senator has introduced a variety of energy bills including the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act (DEJA), a wide-ranging package of energy bills that address both traditional and renewable development and are designed to streamline and simplify regulations, boost domestic energy supplies, build energy infrastructure and safeguard America's supply of critical minerals.
Hoeven is also sponsoring: the Empower States Act, which ensures that states retain the right to manage hydraulic fracturing and gives them the ability to respond first to any violations; and the Domestic Fuels Act of 2012, which uses a market-based approach and removes barriers to make it easier to market both traditional and renewable fuels, providing consumers with more choices at the pump.
"This expo is part of an effort to unlock our nation's potential to produce more energy right here at home. We know that North Dakota and the Great Plains can lead the way," Senator Conrad said. "Right now, we are spending almost one billion dollars every day on foreign energy. Imagine what a difference it would make to invest that money in the Midwest instead of sending it to the Middle East. We have made progress in the last four years, reducing our dependence on imported energy from 57 percent to 42 percent, but much more remains to be done. We need to develop all of our domestic energy resources: oil, coal, gas, wind, and biomass. And North Dakota will be a leader in all of these areas."
Senator Conrad is the author of the FUEL Act - a balanced plan to reducing America's dependence on foreign energy, and one that recognizes our state's potential to play a leading role in addressing our country's energy challenges. In addition to the state's oil and bio-fuels production, North Dakota is also home to vast lignite coal and natural gas supplies and produces enough renewable electricity from wind to power hundreds of thousands of homes. The FUEL Act puts North Dakota's energy resources at the center of our national energy strategy.
"North Dakota is blessed with a diverse portfolio of energy resources and is a leading contributor to the nation's production of both traditional and renewable energy," Dalrymple said. "We are working hard to develop our energy resources and tap into the industry's tremendous potential to create jobs and economic opportunities for our people. Empower North Dakota continues to serve as our road map for a comprehensive energy policy that allows us to build on the significant progress currently underway in North Dakota and maximize the full potential of our energy resources."
Dalrymple has worked to broaden the scope of Empower North Dakota, the state's comprehensive energy policy, and to build on the growth occurring in North Dakota's energy industry. The foundation of his energy policy has been to maximize North Dakota's diverse energy resources and promote growth within the industry by creating an attractive business climate, providing targeted incentives for each energy sector, and investing in research and development to generate innovative ideas and technologies for the future.
Top executives Torstein Hole, senior vice president of U.S. Onshore Development for Statoil and James Suciu, president of global sales and marketing for GE Energy delivered keynote addresses. The sixth annual Energy Expo also brought together industry experts for panel discussions on infrastructure, adding value to energy resources and understanding regulations.
The conference was hosted by the two senators and governor, as well as Bismarck State College, Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson, the Great Plains Energy Corridor and the North Dakota Department of Commerce.