The North Dakota Public Service Commission last week approved the construction of a natural gas processing plant and pipeline. With work on the plant scheduled to begin imminently, the Commission’s approval of these projects represents an economic and environmental triumph at a time when America’s energy infrastructure is more important than ever.

Investments in energy infrastructure confer long-term economic advantages. North Dakota’s natural gas producers support thousands of families and provide much of the heat and electricity used by the state’s homes and businesses.

The newly approved projects will contribute to these benefits by creating hundreds of jobs and generating substantial local and state tax revenues, materially improving North Dakota’s resilience to coronavirus-induced economic downturn.

The construction of these facilities is also an important step towards a more responsible energy industry. The expanded production of natural gas has been key to lowering carbon emissions from the power generation sector. As well as being part of a broader shift towards cleaner energy usage, the new plant is designed to capture and process natural gas released by oil drilling that would otherwise be flared or burned off, reducing waste and improving efficiency. Instead, up to 250 million cubic feet of gas each day will be processed for consumer use – increasing access to clean, affordable, American energy.

In the face of a global pandemic, the expansion of domestic energy infrastructure is a tried-and-true solution for lasting prosperity that should be enthusiastically embraced. Projects like these are precisely the type of forward-thinking investments that North Dakota needs.

— Craig Stevens, a former senior advisor to U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman, is the spokesman for Grow America’s Infrastructure Now (GAIN).

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