Thursday, June 3, 2021 - 01:17 pm

Gov. Doug Burgum today urged U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan to support federal investment in research and innovation – including carbon capture, storage and utilization in the coal, oil and gas, and ethanol industries – as the path forward for meeting America’s carbon management goals.

Regan is making his first visit to North Dakota since being sworn in as EPA administrator on March 11 after having served as secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. His visit, hosted by U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer, follows a more than one-hour conversation Burgum had with the administrator on March 26.

“As a former state regulator, Administrator Regan understands that a one-size-fits-all federal policy doesn’t work for our country,” Burgum said. “North Dakota is an energy and agriculture powerhouse that feeds and fuels the nation and the world, and no one cares more about the quality of our air and water than the people who live here. With states leading the way, our nation should be trying to maximize agriculture and energy production, not minimize it, and the federal government can help us do that by investing in research dollars to innovate carbon management technologies.”

During a listening session at Bismarck State College with Regan, Cramer, U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong, Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, state Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, other state and federal officials, and energy and agriculture stakeholders, Burgum emphasized that North Dakota hit the “geologic jackpot” not only with its abundant natural resources but also underground rock formations with the estimated capacity to store more than 250 billion tons of carbon dioxide. He noted the state can play a key role in carbon management through private sector innovation, public-private partnerships and federal support, as opposed to regulatory overreach that stymies innovation.

Burgum also stressed the importance of maintaining U.S. energy independence and energy security and ensuring that environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing policies don’t discourage innovation and investment into solutions that will allow for a continued all-of-the-above energy approach that includes coal, oil and gas.

“We appreciate Administrator Regan taking the time to hear from representatives of North Dakota’s critically important agriculture and energy industries, and we look forward to working with him to preserve states’ rights and flexibility, ensure regulatory certainty and remain on the cutting edge of technology with a focus on innovation over regulation.”

Burgum and Sanford have promoted an all-of-the-above energy approach based on innovation over regulation to advance energy development with environmental stewardship. Under the Burgum-Sanford administration, in 2018 North Dakota became the first state in the nation to receive approval from the EPA to regulate geologic storage of carbon dioxide.

In April, Burgum signed legislation creating a Clean Sustainable Energy Fund to support low-emission technology projects and help provide a long-term, viable path forward for the state’s energy industry. The legislation will accelerate efforts to develop promising low-emission technologies, helping ensure that North Dakota’s energy industry can provide reliable, affordable baseload electricity for the state and region.