Hoeven touts energy plan: Energy security can be reached in five to seven yearsSen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said a comprehensive energy plan he introduced in the U.S. Senate this week follows the Empower North Dakota formula he used a decade ago as North Dakota governor to groom the path to the state’s currently thriving energy industry.
By: Kevin Bonham, Forum Communications, The Jamestown Sun
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said a comprehensive energy plan he introduced in the U.S. Senate this week follows the Empower North Dakota formula he used a decade ago as North Dakota governor to groom the path to the state’s currently thriving energy industry.
Hoeven outlined the legislation, the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act of 2012, to a group of researchers Friday at the Energy and Environmental Research Center at UND.
“The DEJA is the foundation to a comprehensive energy policy that will help our country develop all of our energy resources, both traditional and renewable,” Hoeven said. “It really is the same approach we used in North Dakota when we built Empower North Dakota, which is the comprehensive energy policy for the state.”
DEJA, which is similar to a measure passed last month by the House of Representatives, is a package of 13 diverse energy bills that proponents say addresses the nation’s most critical energy issues by streamlining and simplifying regulations, boosting domestic energy supplies, building the nation’s energy infrastructure and safeguarding its supply of critical minerals used in modern high-tech manufactured products such as cellphones and computers.
“I think we can get to energy security in this country within five to seven years,” Hoeven said. “What do I mean by energy security? It means that we produce more energy than we consume in this country. And that is certainly achievable, particularly working with our closest friend and ally, Canada, because not only of the incredible potential not only here in the United States, but in partnership with Canada.”
Included in the package is Hoeven’s failed bill that would allow construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada into the United States, which the Obama Administration has held up for additional environmental review.
“There are a tremendous number of projects that are ready to go if we can get them permitted, if we reduced the regulatory process,” Hoeven said. “Right now the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates there are more than 350 projects that are stalled because of not being able to get permitted or because of regulatory burden.”
The Chamber estimated those project could create nearly 2 million jobs annually and produce more than $1 trillion in gross domestic product.
Among those projects is the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would bring oil from the tar sands region of Alberta to U.S. refineries.
The $7 billion project is projected to move 890,000 to 1.4 million barrels of oil to the United States per day, including 100,000 barrels of crude oil being produced in the Bakken Oil Patch of western North Dakota and Montana. It was held up because a stretch goes through Nebraska’s environmentally-sensitive Sand Hills region. Pipeline developers have submitted a different route.
Hoeven told the group of researchers that the comprehensive proposal does not sacrifice environmental concerns.
“Environmental stewardship doesn’t happen by establishing more and more regulations and restrictions that nobody can get through,” he said. “It’s deploying the amazing new technologies that all of you are working on and developing every day, that not only will produce more energy, more cost-effectively, more dependably, but we will do it with better environmental stewardship.”
Gerald Groenewold, EERC director, praised Hoeven’s Empower ND program, calling it “one of the smartest things” he has ever seen in energy policy, because it brought together various components of North Dakota’s energy industry to the table. “It said, ‘Hey, wait a minute. All you folks need to talk to each other, need to work together.’ This bill does that at a national level.”
Kevin Bonham is a reporter
at the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.