Hoeven to Grand Forks Rotary: Technology, UAS and Rolling Back Regulations Helping to Bolster North Dakota's Economy

Senator Also Outlines Priorities to Pass Comprehensive Infrastructure Package and Tax Reform

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today addressed the Grand Forks Rotary Club at their weekly meeting about his work to help grow North Dakota’s economy. Hoeven discussed new technological developments throughout the state including unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in the Grand Forks area, as well as efforts to roll back unnecessary and burdensome regulations hampering businesses. The senator also outlined his priorities as Congress continues working towards comprehensive tax reform and an infrastructure package.                                                                                                   

“North Dakota’s economy continues to grow, and Grand Forks is playing an important part in this growth,” Hoeven said. “With new companies coming to Grand Sky, the Grand Forks area further secures its position as a hub for UAS technology, while the Energy & Environmental Research Center continues developing new technologies for our state’s energy industry. We’re working to help advance these efforts by rolling back duplicative regulations, supporting robust infrastructure development and providing tax reform to simplify the code and lower rates, among other things. These are the priorities that will empower investment and innovation across sectors and support greater opportunities for our citizens.”


Last week, Hoeven hosted the 2017 State of Technology Conference, where he highlighted how technological innovations are acting as the third wave in North Dakota’s economic growth by creating opportunities in traditional and emerging industries. This development is bringing new opportunities for the state’s core industries of agriculture and energy. 

For instance, the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota (UND) is conducting important carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) research, such as Project Tundra, the Allam Cycle and Red Trail Energy’s project to reduce the emissions from its ethanol plant in Richardton. As a member of the Senate Energy and Energy Appropriations Committees, Hoeven continues his efforts to support these efforts and ensure the final Fiscal Year 2018 funding bill provides adequate funding for CCS programs. 


Yesterday, Hoeven was at the Grand Sky Technology Park to help mark the opening of General Atomics’ new Flight Test and Training Center. More than 40 full-time staff work at the facility, which will train UAS crews from around the world. In addition to General Atomics, Northrop Grumman recently announced plans to double its physical footprint at Grand Sky.

In support of the work at Grand Sky, Hoeven urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for approval for the Northern Plains UAS test site to oversee beyond-line-of-sight operations for high altitude, large unmanned aircraft. He also secured upgrades for the DASR-11 radar at the Grand Forks Air Force Base and a similar system at Hector Field in Fargo. These developments enable companies like General Atomics to train Predator and other UAS pilots out of Grand Forks and lay the foundation for low altitude beyond-line-of-sight applications and counter-UAS technologies. These two initiatives are the next big developments in UAS and open a wide range of commercial and military operations, including package delivery and protecting against the misuse of UAS.


Hoeven has been working to help provide regulatory relief for North Dakota’s agriculture producers and energy industry. This includes:

  • Stopping the Waters of the U.S. Rule  Hoeven worked through the Appropriations Committee to defund the regulation in 2016 and 2017. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently issued a proposal to restore the regulations that were in place prior to WOTUS, which was issued in 2015. This is the first of two steps established by the executive order signed by the president in February.
  • Repealing the Stream Buffer Rule – Hoeven helped introduce and pass legislation to rescind the one-size-fits-all Stream Buffer Rule, which was primarily based on mining practices in the Appalachian region and threatened to eliminate thousands of mining jobs.
  • Rolling Back Burdensome Regulations – Hoeven joined the President and Interior secretary to implement executive orders and begin rolling back regulations that hamper domestic energy production, including the EPA’s costly rules for coal-generating power plants, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) hydraulic fracturing rule for federal lands, BLM’s methane rule and the moratorium on federal coal leasing. The senator also cosponsored and voted for a resolution to repeal the BLM methane rule.
  • Rescinding BLM “Planning 2.0” – Hoeven cosponsored and helped pass a resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to repeal the rule. This maintained multiple-use requirements for federal lands, including energy development and grazing.


Hoeven is working with his colleagues in Congress to advance a comprehensive infrastructure package and reforms to the nation’s tax code. On infrastructure, the senator is both working to ensure the solvency of the highway trust fund and other infrastructure programs, while also advancing innovative new approaches like his Move America Act as a strong complement to public funding. This bipartisan legislation, which he recently introduced, would help fund private-public partnerships through tax exempt-bonds and tax credits to grow and repair the country’s infrastructure. This would lower overall costs and give state and local governments flexibility to construct the infrastructure they most need. Qualified projects include roads, bridges, transit, ports, rail, airports, water and sewer facilities and broadband.

Hoeven’s priorities on taxes are to reduce compliance costs for businesses and families by simplifying the code, bringing down rates and broadening the tax base to ensure stable revenues. This will allow continued funding for the nation’s priorities while increasing government revenues over the long run through efficiency and economic growth.