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Letter to the editor: United States needs a comprehensive energy policy

I'm responding to Tom Magin letter published Dec. 14 in The Jamestown Sun concerning federal cap-and-trade legislation.

I oppose Waxman-Markey, the cap-and- trade bill now before Congress, as well as a recent Environmental Protection Agency ruling concerning carbon dioxide regulation. In fact, I testified against the cap-and-trade bill before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works last July.

Clearly, Congress and the administration are taking the wrong approach on cap and trade. Instead of Waxman-Markey, Congress needs to implement a comprehensive energy policy that will incentivize industry to develop all of our energy resources in an environmentally sound manner. That's what we have done in North Dakota with Empower ND, the state's comprehensive energy policy.

Let me give just a few brief examples. In North Dakota, we're using horizontal drilling techniques to tap as much oil from one well as traditional drilling techniques usually produce with 10. At the same time, we're also implementing tertiary oil recovery, whereby carbon is captured from a coal gasification plant and is "sequestered" in the ground, forcing more oil to the surface. These technologies enable us to access new oil formations, produce more oil with a smaller environmental footprint and manage carbon in a reasonable and efficient way.

Also, Basin Electric Power Cooperative's Antelope Valley Station is participating in another large-scale carbon dioxide capture and sequestration demonstration project in cooperation with the state of North Dakota and the Department of Energy. This project is part of the Plains CO2 Reduction Partnership. Antelope Valley Power Station will likely be the first commercial-scale, coal-fired electric plant in the nation to capture and sequester carbon dioxide on a post-combustion basis. This means more energy from coal-fired production, a reduction in emissions and more oil produced through tertiary recovery.

We are making similar progress with renewable sources. In the last eight years, North Dakota has gone from less than half a megawatt of wind energy to more than 1,200 megawatts in service or under construction, with an additional 5,000 permitted to move forward. Similarly, we have boosted our biofuels production from less than 40 million gallons a year to more than 400 million gallons of ethanol and biodiesel, with more capacity at the ready.

These and other cases show there is a better alternative than Waxman-Markey and cap and trade. The right approach is creating a comprehensive energy policy to empower energy development without taxing consumers. Through a comprehensive energy plan, our country can spur development of all of our energy resources with good stewardship while still promoting energy efficiency and conservation. The result will be more jobs, a stronger, more vibrant economy, good environmental stewardship and greater energy independence and security for our nation.

Gov. John Hoeven


(Hoeven, a Republican, is serving his third term as governor of North Dakota)