Hoeven Outlines Efforts to Build North Dakota's Energy Leadership, Crack the Code on CCUS

Senator Highlights Livestock & Row Crop Disaster Assistance, Working to Expand Rural Broadband & Empower Cooperatives to Invest in Their Communities

HAZEN, N.D. – At West River Telecom’s 70th Annual Meeting today, Senator John Hoeven outlined his efforts to continue building North Dakota’s role as an energy powerhouse. This includes cracking the code on carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), implementing this technology at Coal Creek Station and Project Tundra, and expanding its use at the Dakota Gasification Company’s (DGC) Great Plains Synfuels Plant

At the same time, Hoeven is working to help farmers and ranchers recover from last year’s historic drought and in September secured $10 billion in agriculture disaster aid, including $750 million for livestock producers. Hoeven then repeatedly pressed Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to get the assistance to producers as soon as possible, with the aid is currently being distributed under theEmergency Relief Program (ERP) and theEmergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP). The senator also discussed his efforts to support North Dakota’s rural communities and ensure they remain competitive in the global economy. To this end, the senator is advancing greater access to high-speed broadband service in rural areas and working to empower cooperatives like West River Telecom to continue investing in their communities.

“Our electric and telecommunications cooperatives are essential to our high quality of life in North Dakota, and we continue working to ensure their future success,” said Hoeven. “By cracking the code on CCUS technologies, including the projects at Coal Creek, Project Tundra and DGC, our state will secure the future of our coal industry and help maintain the affordability and reliability of our electric grid. Further, we’re working through the ReConnect program and other efforts to expand rural broadband, which supports North Dakota’s role as a hub of tech entrepreneurship, while also giving cooperatives the tools they need to enhance the services they provide to homes and businesses across North Dakota.”

Building North Dakota’s Energy Leadership

Hoeven has worked since his time as governor to advance the development of CCUS technologies in North Dakota, which will enable the U.S. to continue utilizing all of its abundant energy resources, including coal. Specifically, he worked:

  • As governor to create the regulatory framework for carbon storage in the state, starting with the North Dakota CO2 Storage Workgroup he established in 2008. Following this:
    • He advanced a bill through the state legislature to grant authority over carbon storage to the North Dakota Industrial Commission.
    • The state enacted legislation that granted ownership of the pore space to the owner of the overlying surface estate.
    • Then as a U.S. Senator, Hoeven secured approval of the state’s application for regulatory primacy over geologic storage of CO2using Class VI wells. North Dakota is one of only two states to have this regulatory authority.
  • To get the 45Q carbon capture tax credit implemented in a way that provides a revenue stream to make CCUS projects more commercially-viable.
    • Hoeven continues to prioritize enhancements for both the 45Q and 48A Advanced Coal tax credits to provide important revenue streams for CCUS projects.
  • To fund critical loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

Expanding Rural Broadband Access

As the lead Republican on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, Hoeven has secured nearly $3 billion across fiscal years (FY) 2018-2022 for the ReConnect Program, a rural broadband loan and grant pilot program. The senator also cosponsored and worked to pass:  

  • The Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act, which passed as part of the 2018 Farm Bill, to ensure adequate broadband access in rural areas.
  • The Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act, which was signed into law in 2020, to improve federal broadband mapping. 

Empowering Rural Cooperatives

Hoeven is sponsoring the Flexible Financing for Rural America Act, bipartisan legislation he introduced with Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) that would allow electric cooperatives and small, rural telecommunications providers to refinance their Rural Utilities Service (RUS) debt at current market rates without penalty. This would give rural cooperatives and businesses flexibility in managing their cash-flow, allowing them to invest in rural communities and pass savings on to customers.

At the same time, Hoeven works to ensure strong support for RUS programs that cooperatives rely on to improve their facilities and continue delivering essential services to rural communities.