Kenton Onstad, Parshall, N.D., letter: N.D.'s future includes a new refinery
PARSHALL, N.D. -- A turn of events can lead to a good thing. In January, Rep. Shirley Meyer, D-Dickinson, and I announced the formation of an oil refinery task force to look at increasing refining capacity in North Dakota. We were greeted with in...
PARSHALL, N.D. -- A turn of events can lead to a good thing. In January, Rep. Shirley Meyer,
D-Dickinson, and I announced the formation of an oil refinery task force to look at increasing refining capacity in North Dakota. We were greeted with intense scrutiny.
We formed this task force because we believed it was so important to address fuel shortages and some of the highest fuel prices in the nation, all happening in a state that sits on the largest contiguous oil find in the lower 48.
We also formed the task force because the 2007 Legislature voted down a proposal to study the feasibility of building additional refinery capacity. We decided that the questions were too important to leave unanswered.
Our mission statement for the task force was to "add value to North Dakota oil." To do this, we simply need to export the refined (as opposed to the raw) product.
The bonus is, we would create new jobs and secondary businesses for the byproducts -- businesses such as fertilizer plants, tire plants and plastic manufacturing plants.
Building a refinery is more than possible, we learned. It will happen. We also confirmed what we'd suspected all along: The state need not build a refinery. Instead, its role is to help site and permit such a facility.
The investors are out there and eager to invest in North Dakota.
Developers with the Three Affiliated Tribes and Northwest Oil Refinery also were right all along, and these projects soon may become a reality.
And the refineries are being planned using new technologies that will build clean, green facilities.
Our work is not done. We have drafted legislation that we will introduce in the 2009 Legislature. Together, we can create a new and exciting future for North Dakota.
Democrat Onstad represents District 4 in the North Dakota House.