Among top priorities for Sen. John Hoeven right now is working behind the scenes to assure uninterrupted operation of the Dakota Access pipeline while a court-ordered Environmental Impact Statement is being prepared.
Hoeven told a group of energy industry leaders on Wednesday that he worked with Chairman Mark Fox on getting a tribal consultation on the Dakota Access pipeline, and that he has also been talking with the Corps about the situation, as well as colleagues on the Energy Committee, such as Senator Joe Manchin, the Democratic senator from Virginia.
“The key is that we can keep the Corps — they want oil to continue to flow while they do their EIS. And if we can just keep them on track and operating the pipeline, and then completing that EIS within something less than a year now, that’s a huge step,” Hoeven said.
Hoeven said the Three Affiliated Tribes have a strong case with the federal government when it comes to Dakota Access, with around 230,000 barrels of oil coming off their reservation and traveling in that pipeline.
“(The federal government) has a fiduciary duty to protect trust assets,” Hoeven said. “And they have a trust relationship with the tribe, so I’m hoping that’s helpful.”
Hoeven said the Corps and Energy Transfer are taking additional safety precautions for the pipeline to try to accommodate concerns from the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota, as well as tribes in South Dakota.
“This is something where we gotta work together, so it doesn’t get to be just looked at in a partisan way,” Hoeven said. “That’s what we want to stay on. The Corps is on track to continue to have it operate and complete the EIS. That’s the key. And that’s why we’re trying to keep i tin this framework, so neither the administration nor the courts, can come in and get it into more of a partisan fight.”
The Senator also sees avenues for certain important oil and gas priorities, despite the Biden administration, on key concepts, particularly, carbon capture, in which North Dakota is well-situated to lead the nation.
Sen. Deb Haaland, as the former congresswoman of New Mexico, and now Secretary of the Interior, has a lot of federal land with interesting development potential. Hoeven hopes that could help keep doors open to at least some energy development on federal lands.
I think that will help in that they want to see energy development as well,” he said. “So I’m not saying it’s going to be easy or as smooth as we want it to be. But I’m thinking we’ll get back to it, I hope sooner, and not later. I think we’ll still have challenges with permitting and that kind of stuff, but hopefully at least we’ll be back to you know producing energy on the federal land by the end of this 60-day moratorium. That’s what we’re working toward.”
Other priorities Hoeven discussed include:
• Securing approval for WBI Energy’s North Bakken Expansion Project from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
• Pushing back on the Biden administration’s executive actions targeting U.S. domestic energy production, including oil, gas and coal development on federal lands.
• Ensuring the reliability of the electric grid by supporting the continued use of baseload power sources, like coal. This includes cracking the code on carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies.
“North Dakota built the right kind of legal, tax and regulatory environment needed to unleash innovation and realize the potential of the Bakken region,” Hoeven said. “This has led to a strong economy, created good-paying jobs and made America a global energy powerhouse. We need to build on this progress to ensure our continued economic and national security.”
Hoeven said the Biden administration’s measures will put the nation at a competitive disadvantage and lock away taxpayer-owned energy resources.
“This has serious consequences for local economies, increases prices for consumers and reduces needed revenues to state, tribal and local governments,” Hoeven said. “That’s why we will continue our efforts to press back on duplicative federal rules and unilateral actions like these from the administration, and instead work in bipartisan fashion to advance new innovations, like CCUS, that empower us to produce more energy with better environmental stewardship.”