Hoeven Emphasizes Pro-Growth Economic Strategy, Energy Development at Public Meetings and Town Hall Forums

WILLISTON and DICKINSON, ND – Senator John Hoeven today held business climate and energy development public meetings and town hall forums in Williston and Dickinson to emphasize economic pro-growth legislation and energy development that he’s pushing in Washington, and to gather views from constituents on a range of issues. 

The Senator focused on local and national energy development at the morning forum and town hall held at the Red River Supply Company in Williston. At the afternoon forum at SolarBee in Dickinson, the senator provided an overview of his work in Congress to promote pro-business legislation, create jobs and grow the nation’s economy. After short presentations, he opened the floor for questions, insights and opinions from constituents. 

Both events served as opportunities to dialogue with citizens on issues important to North Dakota and to highlight federal policies he’s promoting in Washington.  

Hoeven said Washington needs to focus on three areas, which is where he is concentrating his efforts: 

  1. Creating a legal, tax and regulatory climate that promotes business growth and investment, and gets people back to work.
  2. Reining in spending and controlling the national debt.
  3. Developing a comprehensive, pro-growth national energy policy to fuel our economy, reduce dependence on foreign energy, and create good jobs for American workers. 

“We must improve our nation’s legal, tax and regulatory environment so businesses can prosper, create jobs and help lift our nation out of the financial quandary we’re in,” Hoeven said. “We can and will get our nation’s economy back on track if we focus on the kinds of things that create jobs and opportunities for our people.”


To help build a competitive business environment, Hoeven is cosponsoring legislation that will eliminate or modify unwarranted or misguided regulations that are impeding business investment and stifling innovation, including to date: 

  • Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act ­– Reduces the regulatory burdens on businesses, including eliminating the 1099 reporting requirement in last year’s health care act. This legislation was passed this spring by both houses of Congress.
  • Regulatory Responsibility for Our Economy Act – Gives the force of law to a presidential executive order to review and eliminate regulations that are outmoded or excessively burdensome to restore regulatory certainty to the markets.
  • UAS Airspace Amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration bill – Authorizes the FAA to work with the military to develop national flight standards and concurrent airspace in the National Airspace System for UAS.
  • Senate Resolution on Free Trade – Expresses the intent of the Senate to immediately implement the South Korean, Colombian and Panamanian free trade agreements.
  • FEMA Common Sense and Cost Effectiveness Act – Authorizes FEMA to make temporary levees permanent, thereby saving money and improving flood mitigation.


Federal revenues in 2011 are projected to be $2.2 trillion, while current spending is $3.7 trillion. In order to meet this $1.5 trillion shortfall and other federal debts, Congress borrows 40 cents on every dollar we spend. At the same time, the national debt is growing $4 billion a day.  

“Every dollar used to service the national debt is a dollar that won’t be used to build America’s infrastructure, to keep Social Security solvent, or to reduce taxes on American businesses so that they can create jobs and raise the standard of living for American workers,” Hoeven said. 

Policies Hoeven supports for reducing spending and debt include:

  • Balanced Budget Amendment – Caps spending and balances the budget, but allows for appropriate exception in times of war.
  • Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act – Provides the President with a line-item veto.
  • Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act – Changes Congress’s budgeting process to a two-year cycle.


North Dakota’s successful comprehensive energy strategy, Empower North Dakota, can serve as a model for the rest of the nation, helping to reduce energy costs and create millions of new jobs for America, Hoeven said. He said no single, sweeping legislation is likely to be passed in Congress. However, North Dakota’s experience illustrates the positive effects that deliberate and cumulative pro-growth policies can have on the industry.

“In North Dakota, we built Empower North Dakota over a decade – piece by piece – and saw firsthand the power of energy development to boost the economy.  Our state alone has realized $12 billion in new energy-related investments since 2005,” he said. “For years, Congress has failed to approve a comprehensive energy policy. With the right energy policy in place, imagine what our nation could accomplish.” 

Hoeven is cosponsoring legislation to help build that kind of national energy policy. Legislation includes: 

  • Defending America’s Affordable Energy and Jobs Act – Empowers Congress, rather than federal agencies, to regulate greenhouse gases.
  • EPA Fair Play Act Ensures that the EPA can’t rescind a validly issued, previously approved permit.
  • Gas Accessibility and Stabilization Act – Simplifies the nation’s fuel standards and makes more fuel available to American consumers.


One of the keys to America’s economic recovery is a vibrant, varied energy sector, Hoeven said. A sensible legal, tax and regulatory business climate will unleash innovation and attract much-needed investment to the nation’s energy industry, as it has in North Dakota.

In order to create the best climate for energy development, it’s also essential for North Dakota to have an accurate picture of its energy resource potential, Hoeven said. This spring, he gained federal approval for a new U.S. Geological Survey of oil resources in the Williston Basin, which is expected to begin in October.

U.S. Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar agreed to the new study in May, after Hoeven made the case that technological advances have significantly increased the amount of oil that is recoverable in western North Dakota. The Senator has worked with the agency and industry to provide information showing that a new study is warranted. 

The last USGS study, released in April 2008, identified 3.65 billion recoverable barrels of oil in the Bakken formation with far more oil than that in place. Many companies operating in North Dakota have expressed to the Senator their belief that there are significantly more recoverable reserves. In order to warrant a revised study, the USGS needed current data from oil companies operating in the Williston Basin regarding their production curves, recovery rates, the new technologies they are employing and any new geological analyses available. Hoeven arranged for seven companies producing oil in North Dakota to provide data to the USGS about the latest technologies and recovery rates in the Williston Basin. 

“An updated USGS survey will be critical to attract infrastructure investment for housing, hotels, retail stores and service companies to growing communities in western North Dakota by confirming, with good data, that the Williston Basin is a sustainable, long-term play warranting substantial private investment,” Hoeven said. “Solid data will strengthen confidence in the long-term potential of the area and help to attract new investments in community infrastructure throughout western North Dakota.”