Tag: Donald Trump

Basin Electric’s Response to President Trump’s Clean Power Plan Executive Order

BISMARCK – Basin Electric CEO and General Manager Paul Sukut today issued the following statement on President Trump’s executive order on the Clean Power Plan (CPP): “President Trump’s announcement today is a positive step forward in our efforts to seek time and flexibility when it comes to developing a carbon management plan, hopefully, in the context of a national energy policy.

“EPA’s Clean Power Plan would have significant impacts on Basin Electric and our membership. Of the 13 states hit the hardest by this rule, eight are in Basin Electric’s service territory. Financially, Basin Electric would have to spend billions of dollars to comply. These dollars would simply cover adding new generation and potentially impact the operations of our existing facilities. This does not even include the expense of additional electric, gas or transmission infrastructure to support the new generation required to meet the proposed mandates of the CPP. These costs would be unfairly borne by our membership.

“Over the last decade, Basin Electric and our membership have taken a leadership role in the development of renewable generation. We’ve added more than 1,500 megawatts of wind generation to our system (which represents approximately 23 percent of our generation capacity), invested more than $1 billion in natural gas generation resources and have invested more than $1.6 billion in emissions control technology to make our already clean generation fleet even cleaner. Even more, our Dakota Gasification Company’s Great Plains Synfuels Plant is home to North America’s largest carbon capture and sequestration project – capturing more than 30 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). Our most recent project to add urea production to the Synfuels Plant continues that tradition by capturing CO2 to make urea and for sale as a food grade product. It’s important to note that the CPP, as proposed, did not allow Basin Electric credit for our current investments in natural gas generation or renewables, nor our carbon sequestration efforts through Dakota Gas.

“President Trump’s action today does not, however, impact Basin Electric’s efforts to seek a viable path forward in a carbon constrained future. We are actively seeking solutions that reduce our carbon footprint while keeping coal as part of our energy portfolio, preserving both the reliability and cost competitiveness of our members energy supply. In addition to our wind and natural gas investments, we are actively working to advance clean coal technology. Examples include hosting the Integrated Test Center at our Dry Fork Station, Gillette, Wyo., and our investments in research, most recently, in the development of a high efficiency power generation technology that generates high quality CO2 as a product stream, along with participation in DOE’s CarbonSAFE program to further the science of CO2 sequestration in saline aquifers.”

In November 2015, utilities across the country, including Basin Electric, filed a Motion to Stay with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which was denied. On Feb. 9, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Basin Electric and several other petitioners’ Motion to Stay the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, giving the current administration time to review the rule and issue today’s executive order.


NDFU State Convention Kicks Off

BISMARCK –  North Dakota Farmers Union President Mark Watne, oversaw the opening of this years annual, and 90th state convention, with special guest speaker David Wasserman, U.S. House editor and quantitative election analyst for the non-partisan Cook Political Report. Wasserman shared his analysis of the recent presidential election with NDFU members today in Bismarck.

“Donald Trump had more in common with rural America than previously thought,” he said. Democrats ceded the election nationally by focusing their resources on urban cities and adopting a mentality that “they didn’t need to campaign where there weren’t a lot of votes.” Another key factor that played a role in the election, according to Wasserman, was the electorate’s desire for a major change, which Trump embodied as a non-politician, and an anti-dynasty sentiment for president, whether Democrat or Republican.

Wasserman said the president-elect has unique bipartisan potential on topics such as simplifying the U.S. tax code, spending new money on infrastructure, and finding fair solutions to the Affordable Care Act. He felt a farm bill would also pass more quickly through Congress under Trump’s presidency.

NDFU President Mark Watne talked about the need for a farm bill that addresses food security. “Structurally, our current farm bill is good… but it doesn’t cover the cost of production. We need to try and enhance it,” he said. Watne proposed a new title in the farm bill that ensures food production through family farm and ranch agriculture in the interest of national security, renewable wealth for the nation, and rural communities.

Watne also praised members for their work in defeating Measure 1 on the June ballot, which would have allowed corporate farming in North Dakota. While the state’s anticorporate farming law is now being challenged in the courts, Watne said to applause, “We are going to fight this as hard as we can.”

President-Elect Trump Holds Stock in Pipeline Partners

BISMARCK – Following non-stop protests and riots at the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline, many have been curious what type of role will President-elect Donald Trump take on the crisis.

Sources are now indicating that Trump actually owns stock in Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company building the disputed oil pipeline. Trump’s 2016 federal disclosure forms show he holds between $15,000 and $50,000 in stock in ETP, as well as $100,000 and $250,000 in Phillips 66, which has a one-quarter share of Dakota Access.

“Trump’s investments in the pipeline business threaten to undercut faith in this process — which was already frayed — by interjecting his own financial well-being into a much bigger decision,” said Sharon Buccino, director of the land and wildlife program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.

Local Tribal leaders have concern over Trump’s holdings, and are weary his new administration could favor the pipeline consortium. The project has been held up while the Army Corps of Engineers consults with the Standing Rock Sioux, who believe the project could harm the tribe’s drinking water and Native American cultural sites.

“This should be about the interests of the many, rather than giving the appearance of looking at the interests of a few — including Trump,” Buccino said.

However, Trump sold a majority of his stock over the summer, in which he originally owned an amount listed at between $500,000 and $1 million. Industry observers in North Dakota feel the sale of the stock, should eliminate concerns of conflict of interest. Pointing out that Trump may have sold the stock due to dropping market prices in those companies, as demonstrations flared up.

During his campaign, Trump has pledged to expedite permits for oil and gas pipelines in order to spur more oil and gas development in the United States.