Gov. Jack Dalrymple, First Lady want us to ‘create the future’
|Gov. Dalrymple says North Dakota's coal-fired power plants have an excellent track record of controlling emissions. In 2012, Gov. Dalrymple visited Minnkota Power Cooperative's Milton R. Young Station, near Center. While there, Minnkota's Gerry Pfau, right, described a new clean coal technology Minnkota Power is employing at the plant. (Photo courtesy of Minnkota Power)
Oil exploration environmental impacts
Gov. Dalrymple said state monitoring of environmental impacts of oil exploration continues to be a high priority. For work in progress, he points to elimination of open waste pits and the requirement for logging of all components used for well fracking as important strides. He said he has also ordered that wildlife protection must be taken into account when a lease of state land for oil exploration is being considered.
In addition, Gov. Dalrymple’s budget proposal includes $4 million for 23 new positions dedicated to further ensuring safety and environmental regulations are followed at drilling and well sites.
Another environmental protection initiative Gov. Dalrymple would like to take comes in the area of overall landscape conservation.
“I have recommended that we create a conservation fund for North Dakota,” Dalrymple said. He said he feels conservation groups, working with the energy and agriculture groups, are mutually recognizing common ground on protecting the environment, wildlife and “special outdoor places,” in his words.
The fund, from oil production taxes, would provide up to $10 million annually, for an advisory group to recommend grants awarded by the Industrial Commission to help preserve such places. Gov. Dalrymple said this involves providing public access to surface areas, and keeping them free of any energy development activity.
Energy generation, efficiency
Gov. Dalrymple said he works closely with the state’s lignite coal-based electric generation sector in continuing to meet federal clean air requirements. He said over the entire span of the federal Clean Air Act, North Dakota electric power generation interests have steadily improved their air quality achievements.
“Over the last 20 years, our air has gotten cleaner and cleaner every year. This is the obligation and we have met it, because of the efforts that we've made, because of the technology we have developed, and the way that we manage it,” Dalrymple said. He added North Dakota has “outstanding credibility” with the Environmental Protection Agency.
Gov. Dalrymple said technology innovations and attention to air quality improvement continue to be strongly evident. “This is the key over time,” Dalrymple said.
Gov. Dalrymple said also that the nation’s and world’s response to global warming is highly consequential for the future of coal-based electric power. He said research needs to continue on how North Dakota lignite coal could be converted into a liquid fuel, which could meet large-scale energy needs without combustion and air emissions.
In addition, Gov. Dalrymple said he expects the state Department of Commerce, through grants, to continue working with local communities and units of government on energy efficiency investments.
Gov. Dalrymple equates dollars saved from energy efficiency improvements to practically another energy source. He said the federal role in energy efficiency investment support is receding and that the state should do this job.
“I think that the state should step up and continue to do this good work – particularly on public buildings, many of which are older. The potential for energy savings throughout the state is tremendous,” Gov. Dalrymple said.