Santorum receives warm Oil Patch welcomeTIOGA — Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum received a standing ovation here Wednesday after pledging to help North Dakota oil production if he’s elected president.
By: Amy Dalrymple, The Dickinson Press
TIOGA — Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum received a standing ovation here Wednesday after pledging to help North Dakota oil production if he’s elected president.
“On day one, we will sign the order to begin the commencement of the production of the Keystone Pipeline,” Santorum told hundreds of students, community members and business leaders gathered in the Tioga Public School gymnasium.
Santorum also said North Dakotans won’t have to worry about a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing if he’s elected president. Hydraulic fracturing, often called “fracking,” is used to capture oil from shale stone deposits deep in the Bakken.
“Under a Santorum administration, this is not a concern. But under his (Obama’s) administration, it will be,” Santorum said. “It won’t be because of science. It will be because of politics.”
Prior to the town hall meeting in the school, the senator from Pennsylvania held a roundtable discussion on energy at the Target Logistics man camp near Tioga.
Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, asked what Santorum would do for industries of all types that are facing new regulations from the Obama administration.
“We are just being pounded with new regulations,” Ness said.
Santorum said he would repeal or replace all of Obama’s regulations and allow decisions to be made at the state level.
“I believe, as you do, that people at the local and state level care as much and certainly more about their water and their land and their air than people in Washington, D.C., who don’t live in northwest North Dakota.”
Visiting North Dakota Oil Country created some challenges for the campaign.
Santorum told the Williston mayor he wanted to stay there, but they couldn’t find hotel rooms. A campaign staff member spent the night in the Tioga radio station to do advance work for the stop.
Santorum thanked the crowd at the town hall meeting for tolerating the growing pains that have come along with the oil boom.
“What you’re doing here is producing the resources that fuel the nation,” Santorum said.
Steve Fretland, a production supervisor for Hess Co. and lifelong Tioga resident, said he likes Santorum’s views on the Keystone Pipeline and fracking.
“It’s a whole lot of common sense,” Fretland said. “I think we’ve got a winner.”
Alison Kelly, communications director for the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party, said it’s oversimplifying the issue to say Obama is standing in the way of oil production.
Dalrymple is a reporter stationed in the Oil Patch for Forum Communications Co.