Thursday, Senator Kevin Cramer hosted the new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan to meet with state and industry leaders in North Dakota.
Cramer, Republicans, and North Dakota industry leaders are optimistic and willing to work toward productive collaboration, but also show a readiness to push back on any regulation that would harm industry.
Back in March, Senator Cramer was one of 16 Republican Senators to vote to confirm Regan.
In an earlier press release Cramer said of Regan, quote: “It’s an honor to host another senior administration official on their visit to our state. I voted to confirm Administrator Regan knowing we would not see eye-to-eye on policy, but believing he would make a good faith effort to engage directly with North Dakotans as the Administration seeks to to craft environmental policies that are workable and sound.”
The day kicked off with a stakeholder listening session at the National Energy Center of Excellence Bavendick Stateroom at Bismarck State College.
Cramer says he endorses Regan because the Administrator understands the importance of partnership between states and the federal government.
[He has] “an appreciation for what our founders had in mind for the design of the country. A federal government that’s created by the states, and federalism. So, we had that discussion before his confirmation, during his confirmation, and since,” said Cramer.
Senator Hoeven, who did not endorse Regan, wants regulatory certainty for carbon capture and sequestration.
“We just need a little help to do that, and of course that’s our pitch to you. And, it’s one thing to say all of the above energy, it’s another thing to do it. We do it right now here in North Dakota,” said Hoeven.
Carbon capture will be used for coal-fired plants, oil and gas, and ethanol plants. Hoeven laied out the three steps to making the proven technology commercially viable.
“One: the enhanced tax credits. Two: the front-end funding help in partnership with the Federal government and the state of North Dakota and our private sector. Then, third is loan guarantees. Those are in place, we’ve got those. Both at DOE and RUS, but we need to access them and that’s where the regulatory certainty comes in,” explained Hoeven.
Congressman Kelly Armstrong stressed the importance of agriculture and energy sectors to North Dakota’s overall well-being.
“The people in our communities are staying, the kids are graduating and staying in North Dakota, and a lot of that has to do with the industries you are regulation,” said Armstrong.
Armstrong says that’s why North Dakotans are so passionate about resisting regulation.
“Harm those industries, they harm our communities they harm our people. That’s why we’re so passionate, so when we do have to fight well, we’ll fight well, we’ll fight with a smile, but we’ll push back, and hopefully, we can continue to work together to continue to do what we do best, and that’s feed and fuel the world,” said Armstrong.
Regan pledged to have listening sessions on controversial regulations such as The Waters of the U.S. Act on a state-by-state basis.
“This is exactly why I am interested in having a robust conversation because I think when we sit down and agree that one size doesn’t fit all and that these are complex issues. There is a layered discussion about what is the appropriate role of the Federal government state government relationship, and together how we do achieve what I perceive to be some common goals,” said Regan.
The day ended in downtown Mandan where Cramer and other state leaders gave Regan a walking tour of a $300-thousand Brownfield site that will be used for environmental assesments that will work toward the revitalization of downtown.
Regan says he is going to devote more resources toward improving communication between the regional office and and local stakeholders.