Interior Secretary Tours Bakken - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Interior Secretary Tours Bakken

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Western North Dakota could be playing an important role in helping U.S. become less dependent on foreign oil.

     To get a better understanding of how the Bakken works, a member of President Obama's cabinet was in Williston today. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, along with Senators Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven, and Lt. Governor Drew Wrigley were touring the oil patch today.

     The focus of the visit was to learn more about what companies are doing to decrease their carbon footprint, and take a look at how North Dakota regulates the oil industry.

 Over the last decade North Dakota leaders have developed a comprehensive energy plan for the state called Empower North Dakota.

      "It's very important because this country needs to develop a comprehensive energy plan as well. I believe it needs to be one that's a state's first approach," said North Dakota Senator John Hoeven.

 Both Senators showed Secretary Jewell around oil country. Jewell's job is to oversee all resources owned by the federal government. She says developing all resources responsibly, while supporting domestic energy can be tricky.

 

     "The way we do federal government budgeting, which is in partnership with congress, makes that more challenging to move as quickly as let's say a private company or even a state can do," said U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

 

One of the locations the group toured today was a Statoil site, that is going to reduce flaring by compressing gas into a liquid, and capturing the useable gas.

 

     "Develop this resource, but also develop the technologies that we think will lead us toward a path of energy independence in this country, and being done responsibly," said North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp.

 

Secretary Jewell says oil and gas companies know flaring is an issue, and says she hopes they continue to  reduce the amount of gas released into the environment.

 

     "Some creativity and innovation going on here. Both in terms of how you capture that at the well head, how you use it for the energy needs in the local community or in fact onsite itself," added Jewell.

 

Senator Hoeven says the national leaders need to develop an energy plan, and that's why Jewell visited North Dakota.

 

     Hoeven "To build the kind of comprehensive energy plan for this country, that we've built for this state," Hoeven added.

 

The group also visited the south unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

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