‘We have the solutions to climate change’: ND leaders meet in Bismarck

Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 6:47 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Government and energy leaders met at Bismarck State College Monday to discuss issues facing North Dakota’s energy sector.

Hundreds came together to hear leaders discuss hot-button issues. The top of their list: climate change.

“We have the solutions in this room for climate change and for inflation, but we need to get our story out,” said Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford.

But climate activists think otherwise.

“It just doesn’t jive with reality. Our senators are explicitly opposed to different regulations that would reduce the emissions of oil and gas and other industries,” said Scott Skokos, executive director of the Dakota Resource Council.

But some of the solutions discussed at the conference are things proponents say would drastically cut carbon emissions.

“We’re seeing carbon capture projects on ethanol plants and on coal plants. We’re seeing oil and gas companies coming in with projects to reduce their CO2 down to zero on the pad, we’re seeing a company coming in that knows how to make biodegradable plastic out of methane, out of natural gas,” said Sanford.

However, some of those projects, like carbon capture, are exactly the things organizations like the Dakota Resource Council are opposed to.

“We as an organization think it’s antithetical to combatting climate change because essentially it keeps the same industries in place and because it could have the unintended consequence of increasing emissions,” said Skokos.

Still, North Dakota’s delegation believes the very issues facing the energy industry are best solved by the industry.

“Wherever you believe this, we are the solution to this problem, and that’s how we continue to take this fight up,” said Representative Kelly Armstrong.

Another big topic was the matter of transmitting natural gas from western North Dakota to eastern North Dakota. The state has offered $150 million in grant funding to a company that will build a pipeline to do so, but so far has no takers.