Hoeven Celebrates Groundbreaking for UND's New Collaborative Energy Complex

Senator Working to Support Next Generation of STEM Workforce, Domestic Energy Development

GRAND FORKS, N.D. –Senator John Hoeven today lauded the University of North Dakota’s (UND) Department of Petroleum Engineering and the Institute for Energy Studies. He congratulated officials and thanked donors on the groundbreaking for the school’s new 30,000 square-foot Collaborative Energy Complex (CEC), which will house the growing program. The engineering program has grown from four students in 2010 to more than 200 students enrolled this fall.

The new facility will provide cutting-edge lab resources and multipurpose teaching centers, as well as a common area for students and faculty from this and other campuses to interact and collaborate.

“UND’s Petroleum Engineering program has grown into a one-of-a-kind program in just five years, and with the new facility we broke ground for today, it will support continued growth in energy-related studies for many years to come,” Hoeven said. “Now, we need to ensure students can make full use of programs like this by learning the skills necessary to succeed in a rigorous engineering program like UND’s.”

Hoeven emphasized the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education for jobs not only in energy field, but also in other innovative fields that will produce the high paying jobs of the future. To help prepare students for those jobs and rigorous programs like UND’s Engineering School, he and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) have introduced legislation to ensure children have the educational foundation they need. Their bill was included in the Every Child Achieves Act that the Senate passed last week, which replaces No Child Left Behind.

The bipartisan legislation improves students’ access to STEM education by allowing states to award funding to create or enhance a STEM-focused specialty school or a STEM program within a school. The amendment also directs the U.S. Department of Education to identify STEM-specific needs of states and school districts and align existing STEM programs with identified needs to avoid unnecessary duplication.

Senator Hoeven is also working to support the nation’s energy development, which will help provide good-paying jobs, grow the economy and ensure true energy security. To this end, Hoeven has cosponsored the Energy Supply and Distribution Act of 2015. This measure would authorize exports of crude oil and condensate produced in the United States without requiring a federal license, on the same basis that exports of refined petroleum products are currently authorized.

According to studies at the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the non-partisan Brookings Institute and the Harvard Business School, lifting the export ban on crude oil would support domestic production and increase the global supply of crude, which means lower prices for gasoline and other fuels.

The senator has also introduced the Empower States Act, which helps to ensure that states retain the right to manage oil and gas production and gives them the ability to develop hydraulic fracturing rules and to respond first to any violation. Hoeven said the individual states are the first and best responders to oil and gas issues because they know their land and have a stake in protecting their environment. States have been successful in developing oil and gas production with good environmental stewardship, he said.

Hoeven said these and other efforts, coupled with education and research being done at UND, will help support domestic energy production. That will mean less volatility in global markets and reduce the influence of less stable regions of the world, such as Russia and the Middle East, enhancing the security of America and our allies.