North Dakota: A State that Supports Energy

By April 27, 2007Energy

Quite a list of energy-related policy and spending initiatives passed into law by the just-completed session of the North Dakota Legislature, acting on a raft of proposals made by Governor John Hoeven.

One isn’t surprised to see renewable and alternative fuels get a boost; that’s more or less SOP these days, especially in ag states. And these do seem to be major incentives:

  • $7.9 million for Alternative Energy Development Programs, including a $3 million general fund appropriation, with authority to leverage an additional $17 million; a biomass demonstration project and biomass incentives; biomass and hemp research and education; and a sales and use tax exemption for materials used to construct co-generation power plants in conjunction with value added agriculture projects.
  • $13 million in Investment Tax Credits, including Tradable Income Tax Credits and a 15 percent Income Tax Credit for the installation of geothermal, solar, wind energy devices to now include biomass equipment.
  • But what’s especially impressive is the whole-scale support for the traditional sources of energy — coal, oil and natural gas — without which this nation’s economy grinds to a halt. To wit:

  • A new Pipeline Authority to assist private industry construct additional capacity to ship crude oil, natural gas, carbon dioxide ethanol, biodiesel and other energy products to market. [H.R. 1128]
  • A strengthened Transmission Authority to encourage new wind and coal generation.
  • A sales and use tax exemption for natural gas production or the construction/expansion of an oil refinery.
  • New research dollars through Lignite Vision 21 and the Oil and Gas Research Fund to accelerate development of environmentally friendly production of electricity, natural gas, and alternative fuels, like wind, coal-to-liquid, coal gasification and carbon sequestration technologies.
  • The Legislature also authorized the Governor to negotiate a tax-sharing and regulatory agreement to encourage oil development on the potentially energy-rich Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, bringing a measure of legal confidence for investors there.

    At a time when so many states and local governments (like Boston, for example) are shortsightedly discouraging energy development, it’s a remarkably positive story coming out of North Dakota. And, it’s worth noting that these spending initiatives were made by possible by a healthy state budget, thanks in great part to oil revenues.

    North Dakota, by the way, with an unemployment rate of 4 percent is the only state to have increased its number of manufacturing jobs since 1990. A welcoming attitude toward energy development is surely one reason why.