ND Dems respond to Sanders’ oil claims

The North Dakota Presidential Caucus is two weeks away, and the winner four years ago for Democrats, Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., is leading the delegate race.

But Sanders' comments about oil in a debate differs with some state Democrats.

Sanders has called for the abolition of fracking by 2025, as well as banning the use of fossil fuels. During a presidential debate, he said he would consider suing oil companies over reckless actions attributing to climate change.

Sanders has popular following in the state, winning with 64% of the vote in 2016. But his policies on oil production have sparked criticism from industry leaders. And legislators are looking for ways to bridge their party's front-runner with the state's leading industry.

"We need to be partners with them to bring about change in some areas in Western North Dakota. I think being good partners is probably a better way to go about it than going to the court. I think that just sets up walls, and we don't need that right now,” said Sen. Joan Heckaman, D-New Rockford.

Rep. Josh Boschee, D-Fargo, added, "Consumer demand is driving the products produced by energy providers. I'm more interested in ensuring that we ensure energy is produced safely, environmentally responsible, respectful of landowners and royalties are paid appropriately."

The Democrat's Presidential Caucus in on March 10, with mail-in ballots available on the party website.