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As a small business owner working in oil and gas, I have major concerns and questions about Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s support of our industry in North Dakota. Her vote a year ago against eliminating the Bureau of Land Management’s Venting and Flaring rules provided revealing answers and demonstrated that her values are aligned with Washington elites rather than North Dakotans.

Why? Most importantly, her support of the rule added unnecessary federal regulations, duplicating existing rules already enforced by North Dakota. Hundreds of pages of additional bureaucratic red-tape generated burdens which did absolutely nothing to advance the protection of the environment.

Second, the rule completely missed its mark of preventing natural gas waste. By expanding compliance duties of the BLM, staff resources were directed to the adherence of these redundant rules rather than working on real solutions such as approving gathering pipeline rights of way and natural gas processing plant applications.

If the venting and flaring rule accomplished one thing, it enriched environmental lawyers as they billed countless hours counseling politicians on the path of obstruction of American energy production. While Heitkamp may have increased her stature with Sen. Chuck Schumer and his liberal base, it eroded her credibility and trust with North Dakotans.

At the ballot box and in the Senate, each vote counts. With Heitkamp’s votes for unnecessary regulation and against tax relief, which has saved the average North Dakotan family $2,100 per year, I will make sure my vote counts for someone whose best interest lie with North Dakota and not Chuck Schumer.

Kevin Black, Minot

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