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On May 10, 2017, one year ago, Heidi Heitkamp voted against North Dakota's energy industry by casting the deciding vote against the repeal of the BLM venting and flaring rules. The Obama administration targeted North Dakota with rules that were designed for Ohio. Ohio is a natural gas play, producers almost always capture 100 percent of the product as there is no oil associated with the gas and pipelines are required to transport the gas.

The Bakken is an oil play that has “associated gas” produced along with the oil which is only a small percentage of the value of all products being produced. Unfortunately, the needed pipeline infrastructure to transport the gas is not everywhere and it is cost prohibitive to always put in a pipeline to capture the gas. It is obvious pipelines will always be connected to well heads when the cost is justified; no producer wants to burn profits. But, when the major product is oil it is imperative for the producers to market that product as quickly as possible to produce a return on their investment.

While these rules seem mundane, every North Dakotan should doubt Heitkamp's commitment to fight for their industry and livelihood when the public isn't watching. 

She failed all of us – main street businesses, big businesses, ag producers, and every worker - when she voted against tax reform. 

Had her vote against tax reform been successful, old tax rules would have harmed ag producers the most. Our tax structure burdens farmers more during good years than the relief received during bad years. Tax reform shifted this in the right direction and relieved the taxes ag families face when their land transfers to the next generation, giving the next generation a chance to hold onto the family farm.

Following her vote against us, Heitkamp said that she didn't like the "process." Well Washington is a messy place and North Dakota needs a new and better fighter.

Steve Pine, Bismarck

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