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Guest column: Cap and Trade not a benefit to N.D.

There are many debates occurring in Washington. One issue, of particular importance to North Dakota, is the future of energy production. Energy is central to the economic well being of everyone in our country and absolutely central to the economic future of North Dakota.

North Dakota is blessed with unrivaled energy resources. These resources are keeping the worst effects of the recession from our state. Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Hoeven, along with the hardworking citizens of our state, North Dakota is a working model of how to increase our energy supply, conserve our natural resources and grow our economy.

Our state is doing fine but the future we want for our grandchildren is threatened. In Washington, the House of Representatives recently passed energy legislation labeled Cap and Trade. The most obvious problem is that it is not an energy bill. States that are energy poor will profit and it will benefit nations like China and India, who refuse to limit emissions. It will not benefit North Dakota; as a major fossil fuel producer we will be penalized by a carbon tax and subsidize the rest of the nation. It will raise the cost of production and place our manufacturers and agricultural producers at a severe disadvantage.

The United States needs an energy policy containing the points listed below. North Dakota can lead the nation in every area.

- Validation that fossil fuels are here to stay for many many years.

- Renewable energy goals must be included to extend the life of fossil fuels and reduce all types of emissions.

- Demand side management must be achieved, without limiting economic growth or quality of life.

- Intelligent regulatory certainty must be achieved so investors will supply the critical capital to build the needed energy facilities.

- Adequate funding for research and development to find new and more efficient methods to create, store and distribute energy.

The first step to a realistic energy policy is to defeat the current legislation in the Senate. I urge our senators to vote against Cap-and-Trade and follow the North Dakota model of energy production.

Brian Kalk, North Dakota Public Service Commission