Heitkamp outlines plans for western North Dakota; Democrat Senate candidate wants federal help for oil countiesHeidi Heitkamp on Thursday released her plan in Dickinson and Bismarck to get the federal government involved in the Oil Patch, stating it needs to “pony up” resources to western North Dakota.
Heidi Heitkamp on Thursday released her plan in Dickinson and Bismarck to get the federal government involved in the Oil Patch, stating it needs to “pony up” resources to western North Dakota.
“We have a situation where the federal government now is basically being rewarded with all of these dollars … and really not being a full partner in meeting the infrastructure and development needs,” she said. “I’m going to work to ensure the federal government is a partner in developing the Bakken, not just a profiteer.”
An oil boom has brought economic prosperity as well as challenges to the state, the U.S. Senate Democratic candidate said. County roads, airports, law enforcement and emergency staff are overburdened, she said, adding Congress could help by contributing national revenue.
The plan would help the country become energy-independent, she said. The government has a moral obligation to invest in local resources.
“Way to often the federal government tries to solve the crisis of today instead of thinking about the development and participating in building an infrastructure for the future,” she said. “There is no better place right now in the country to put federal resources.”
She stated she would work to keep hydraulic fracturing rules local, freeze post office closings and give the tribes of North Dakota a voice.
Heitkamp will face Republican U.S. Rep. Rick Berg in the Senate race. His legislative staff has addressed the growth and needs of the oil field on a national, state and local level, said Chris Van Guilder, the communications director for Berg’s Senate campaign. He added in a statement that Heitkamp has pledged her support to U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.
“This is the same Harry Reid that is blocking the Keystone (XL) pipeline project and remains hostile to North Dakota energy, saying that coal and oil ‘make us sick, and are ruining our country,’” Van Guilder said in the statement. “Rick Berg will continue to support North Dakota priorities and stand up to the failed Obama-Reid agenda, whereas Heidi Heitkamp will be a vote for their agenda.”
Heitkamp didn’t know if Berg has formed a plan like hers. She added none of the U.S. congressmen have representatives in Williston or Dickinson, but she will locate staff in the Bakken.
The former attorney general understands the importance of developing a national energy policy, State Rep. Shirley Meyer, D-Dickinson, said, adding Heitkamp is dedicated to the area’s needs.
“It’s really irresponsible to leave funding of oil impact up to the state Legislature because, quite frankly, we are just outnumbered out here,” she said.