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Dalrymple on the issues

On Drew Wrigley as lieutenant governor Q. So, do you want to hear my theory about how brilliant your pick for your replacement is? I've been telling people that Jack Dalrymple has read history, and he knows the first rule of power, which is: If t...

On Drew Wrigley as lieutenant governor

Q. So, do you want to hear my theory about how brilliant your pick for your replacement is?

I've been telling people that Jack Dalrymple has read history, and he knows the first rule of power, which is: If there's a rival, keep him inside.

So, this choice leaves Gov. Dalrymple in the position of deciding whether he wants to seek the office in the election of 2012. And it creates a debt on the part of the one person who has clearly said that he wants the office: Drew Wrigley.

And it gives Gov. Dalrymple the flexibility to run for the U.S. Senate, should he decide to do that.


A. I only wish I could be that brilliant. I mean, wouldn't that be nice if I had actually thought that all through?

Q. On the other hand, of course, it's a good appointment in terms of a talented person.

A. That really is where it comes from. I actually had the privilege of having the guy in the office with me for 11 months -- so I saw him in action.

I saw him with a staff. I saw him relate to a governor and legislators.

Q. Because he worked for Hoeven?

A. Yes. He worked with us for 11 months.

There is no easier way to decide whether somebody's the right employee or not than to have seen them in action.

He's really good. He's got a lot of talents.


On sulfates in the Sheyenne River

Q. Tell us more about Devils Lake's role on your list of top priorities.

A. At Devils Lake, we know that we have to control those water levels once and for all.

We have a plan now that we think can do it. It involves increasing the west-end outlet, adding an East Devils Lake outlet that would run at a smaller flow and also doing the prevention measure at the Tolna Coulee, just in case

We need to move forward on all three of those fronts simultaneously and solve that problem.

And that means getting a bit more sulfate into the Sheyenne River. We've gotten the permit that we need now to go to Valley City, N.D.; we need to get a bit more tolerance below the Bald Hill Dam.

But we think that that's reasonable, and we think that we can achieve that. Because a little bit more sulfate still is within the standards that are accepted by most municipalities and, in fact, by the Canadian government.

So, it's not unhealthy to have a wee bit more sulfate in the water. That's a hard argument to carry, but that is true -- so we can build our case on that.


Q. It's going to cost a lot of money.

A. We know that, and we think we can certainly commit to that. That implies paying attention to drinking water quality needs.

For example, we need to help Valley City deal with its drinking water, especially if we're responsible for making it a bigger challenge. And then we're going to be forced to look at everybody on down the Sheyenne and up the Red that may think they're impacted by who, too. That's another commitment that we need to make.

On the labor force

Q. Do we have the labor that will be required to build all of these things -- the highways, the outlets and so on?

A. That's an interesting question.

Every time they tell me that there is no labor available and then another contract is put out for a road contractor, they bid it and come in -- and the labor appears.

In short, I have faith in the free enterprise system. If somebody has an opportunity to make some money, they get very aggressive about finding the people they need.


Especially with our surrounding states having more problems with employment than we have, I think we will see people coming in our direction.

Q. How do we turn that into permanent population growth?

A. I think we're seeing how that works now. We've had people in the past few years coming here for what might have been one-time opportunities, and they're not necessarily disappearing when that job is done.

We also have young people coming back when they're around 30 years old and married. When they see what life can be like here, they stay.

On the West

vs. the East

Q. When the local Chamber of Commerce took a group to Williston, N.D., the final meeting sort of broke down over the perception in Williston that we're taking their money -- that really what's going on is a gigantic redistribution of wealth and that their money is coming to institutions and infrastructures that are not really tied to oil.

A. And of course, that feeling has been there forever. At the core, there is this question: Whose minerals are they?


And if we tax them, whose revenue is it?

I think there are a significant number of people in western North Dakota who feel that it really should belong to the counties. It never should make it to Bismarck at all.

So, that's one perception.

But we think that taxing those extraction flows is a right of the people of North Dakota, and that makes the tax revenue the property of the people of the entire state.

So, that's where that is

But their roads need to be fixed up, and they're in our state. So, we need to get out there and address it and take care of it immediately.

And it's actually a show of faith to them right away that we're not hesitating to do that. If they see any hesitation, then they do have reason to believe that there's some kind of a tyranny going on.

The other thing that's happening out there, of course, is that the activity is so intense right now. They see this wealth being created right before their eyes.


The drilling and the trucks, everything tells them that somebody out there is taking in a lot of money. And if it doesn't happen to be you, the resentment obviously builds.

It's just human nature.

On the surplus

Q. Sen. Ray Holmberg, the State Senate Appropriations Committee chairman, says there really isn't any money.

A. When you're the chairman of appropriations, that's what you need to say. (Note: Dalrymple is a former Senate Appropriations Committee chair.)

And actually, it was helpful in those days that we really didn't have any money. It was kind of a final backstop on everything.

Today, you have to kind of create the illusion that there's no money available if you want to hold things down.

Q. Clearly, Holmberg meant that the surplus is all spoken for at this point.

A. And there's something to that.

Many of those dollars already have been earmarked to some extent for certain things.

But going forward, we just continue to see the prospect of better and better revenue receipts, greater and greater development. So, I think that as we forecast, we have no grounds to be pessimistic. We see growing revenues going forward.

On housing in

the Oil Patch

Q. What do you make of the allegation that the Hoeven administration missed the signs that this oil impact was coming, and so has reduced people to living in substandard conditions?

A. We're looking at the housing thing all the time and trying to analyze it. The housing is being built out there very rapidly; there are people building like crazy.

It's just that it takes a little while to build an apartment building. You can't just snap your fingers and have it be there overnight.

The other thing that's funny about housing is that most of the government programs -- state and federal -- that have to do with housing are oriented to low-income housing. The programs are for people who normally can't afford housing.

But these folks who are working in the oil fields, they don't qualify for anything like that.

So now we're talking about just filling the demand. And it is being filled; it's just that it doesn't happen quite fast enough.

That's why eventually, we think that the oil companies themselves need to be interested in this. There are developers out there who can put together additional housing projects, call on private investment and take advantage of various credits (like our Renaissance Zone credits, which, by the way, are excellent).

They can raise money quickly for housing. And we think the oil companies should be interested, and we think they should invest in funds that are investing in housing. It makes sense.

On the oil extraction tax

Q. During the return visit, when Williston came here, there was talk about the oil extraction tax -- 11.5 percent. There were hints that the industry would like to see that go down some. Any thoughts about that?

A. I think what we could be in favor of is some simplification of the various oil and gas taxes. It is a complex set of formulas, somewhat convoluted. It has these various triggers and things.

And it does make it a little bit difficult to be sure of what you're going to actually wind up paying.

So, simplification of all that I think would be OK. But if all they want to do is just lower the rates, I don't think right now there's much appetite for that. I don't see the Legislature viewing this as a time that we need more incentives to bring in oil development.

>b>Q. The example that someone gave is that Wyoming is much cheaper.

A. We've heard that for 30 years. But the only test of that is this: How many rigs have you got?

Don't' talk to me about how their chart stacks up against our chart. I'm not interested.

The only measure is are the rigs coming in, or are they going out?

Q. And they're coming in.

A. They sure are.

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