The Emergency Commission met to discuss how the remaining $221 million in Cares Act funds would be spent.
One of the main industries receiving funds is the oil and gas industry.
$221 million in federal CARES Act funds that were not spent were turned back over to the state.
The top five areas receiving funds are political subdivisions, the Department of Instruction, the Bank of North Dakota, the Department of Human Services and $16 million toward the Industrial Commission.
“The primary purpose of the Coronavirus Relief Fund was support for businesses that are negatively impacted by COVID-19. And that’s clear in the guidelines. And so the oil and gas industry in North Dakota has been severely, negatively impacted by the results of COVID-19,” explained Joe Morrissette, Director of Management and Budget.
The $16 million will be used for fracking water acquisition and disposal costs. Each well will cost up to $200,000.
The Emergency Commission says the money will provide jobs and will be the highest return on investment out of the pandemic.
“$800,000 of production packs. About $150,000 of sales tax. $1.1 million in salaries and wages. And $2.4 million dollars in royalties,” explained Lynn Helms, the Director of the Department of Mineral Resources.
But not everybody agrees that the oil and gas industry should receive money that is meant for COVID-19 relief.
“I believe that money should’ve gone to families in North Dakota that are struggling with coronavirus in the form of more unemployment compensation so that when people are sick, when people are quarantined they have a source of income,” said State Sen. Tim Mathern from District 11.
Each well will have to be fracked by Dec. 30, as that is the deadline for CARES Act funds to be spent.
Out of the 2$21 million of the CARES Act money not used, $16.9 million was returned from the Industrial Commission, the division oversees the oil and gas industry in the state.