U.S. Senate Energy Chairman Tours ND - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

U.S. Senate Energy Chairman Tours ND

Bismarck, ND -

One of the top decision makers on federal energy policy is taking a look at how things work in the Bakken.

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is the chairman of the U.S. Senate's Energy Committee, he's been making his rounds to America's energy producing states and today he's in North Dakota.

Donnell Preskey has more on his visit...

As U.S. lawmakers continue to work on developing energy policy. A major player is seeing for himself what works in one of the top energy producing states -- North Dakota...

"What especially interested in is infrastructure," says Democratic U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon. Wyden will be involved in any energy policy that moves forward.

Senator John Hoeven says, "a state's first approach to energy development we can do a good job at developing energy for this country."

Senator Hoeven is showing Senator Wyden the diverse elements of North Dakota's energy production.

They will tour coal, ethanol and natural gas plants, see an oil rig and hydraulic fracturing site and more than likely drive by a wind tower on their way...

But Wyden is very interested in the state's natural gas production...

"we got it, the rest of the world wants it. If I can get new ideas in terms of infrastructure, I'd be appreciative," says Wyden.

But there are other energy issues where it is apparent their views are as far apart as the letters behind their name. Like on the Keystone Pipeline...

"here's my take on that..." says Wyden.

He says he's heard some major players say the pipeline is no longer critical...

Wyden says, "I know it's good for Canada, I'm going to be asking North Dakotan's why good for North Dakota."

"Why it's good to have him here. When someone like Harold Hamm says it's not critical, he may mean for his company because he's found alternatives. We still have an incredible need for it," Hoeven replies.

Hoeven says he's going to take Wyden on those beat up roads in McKenzie County to hopefully sell him on the Keystone idea...

"We can take 500 trucks a day off the roads with Keystone Pipeline," says Hoeven.

Their perspectives on Keystone may just be a glimpse of the differences within the Energy Committee which is made up of 12 democrats and 9 republicans.

Wyden says, "the 2 of us are part of the problem solving block in the Senate. We may not give the loudest speeches or get red in the face and throw our hands around all the time, but you have got to find a way to build bi-partisan support on these issues. We're making headway on energy.

Infrastructure is a major focus of the tour. Saturday morning the Senators will take a ground tour of energy development in the Watford City area looking at roads, housing, schools and hospitals.

Wyden says there is currently bi-partisan support for the federal government playing a role in energy infrastructure.

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