North Dakota legislators proved that they have the best interests of the state’s largest industry and workforce in mind by defeating legislation that would have hurt the Bakken's ability to grow jobs and production.
There were several bad bills in front of the North Dakota Legislature, including bills to raise oil taxes, disrupt normal work schedules and make eminent domain more expensive for public and private projects. These bills would have been detrimental to the growth and advancement of North Dakota’s oil industry. Legislators did the right thing for the state and its businesses by defeating them.
With an incredible natural resource like the Bakken, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking its success — and its tax revenues — are automatic. But leaders should recognize how the Bakken competes for business with other oilfields in the country and across the world. The Bakken is not the only oil-rich play and activity is picking up in states like Oklahoma, Wyoming and Colorado. The Permian in Texas attracted enough capital to grow by more than an astounding 1 million barrels per day in 2018 alone.
We must keep the Bakken competitive and North Dakota legislators can be proud of their efforts to keep the state an attractive choice for investment in the oil industry and outside it. There are a few bad bills remaining, such as an ugly bill that creates unemployment tax surcharges on employers, but hopefully, the Legislature continues to keep economic strength and growth the highest priority.
Thank you to those legislators who voted to keep our state competitive and open for business.
Kent Kirkhammer, Minot