State fair-goers learn about what oil industry means to ND
MINOT, N.D.—Helping people grasp the impact petroleum products have on their lives was the goal of a stage show that took place at the North Dakota State Fair Thursday.
Petroleum is in everything from smart phones and iPads to shoes and sunglasses. It is used in wood treatments, paints, cleaners, plastics, lipstick and numerous other products.
Scott Hennen, host of the "What's On Your Mind" radio program, emceed the presentation of "North Dakota Energy — What's In It For You?"
State Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger told the crowd they would pay about three to four times as much in sales tax or income tax if they had to make up revenue now being collected in North Dakota oil taxes.
The average family pays about $700 in income taxes, Rauschenberger said. That amount would be $2,500 to $3,000 if North Dakota tried to fund government at the current level without oil, he said. If tax income from coal and wind energy were included, those income taxes would go even higher, he said.
North Dakota would need a 13 to 14 percent sales tax, rather than the current 5 percent, if it needed to replace oil taxes, Rauschenberger added.
The Dakota Access Pipeline, recently completed in North Dakota, is making oil cheaper to ship and will add $70 million to $200 million to state tax collections in the coming biennium, he said. The pipeline company also pays about $10 million in property taxes annually.
"We produce over a million barrels of oil a day. We are number two to Texas only, in the United States," Rauschenberger said. "We actually produce more than some OPEC countries."
North Dakota also produces about 30 million tons of coal a year, of which 80 percent is used in electrical generation. The remainder goes to make synthetic natural gas and fertilizer.
And, the state is home to wind farms producing 3,000 megawatts of wind energy and to ethanol plants with a total capacity of 500 million gallons.
Thursday's energy event included information about the demand for energy careers in the state and an explanation of the ways petroleum products are used in many types of manufacturing.
About 90 percent of petroleum is utilized for transportation purposes. It's the remaining 10 percent that forms a variety of petroleum products used in everyday items.
Craig Stevens, spokesman for Growing America's Infrastructure Now, talked about the need to counter the protests over energy production activities around the country.
"We want to make sure there's context to the debate," he said."We want to make sure we are part of that debate."