Legislature Okays $150M for Pipeline
Friday, November 12, 2021
The North Dakota Legislature this week approved a $150 million appropriation from federal pandemic relief funds to support construction of a major natural gas pipeline to eastern North Dakota. 

In his State-of-the-State message that opened this week's special legislative session, Gov. Doug Burgum described the importance of the project. He said additional gas takeaway capacity will be needed soon or oil producers will be forced to constrain production to avoid flaring the associated natural gas.

Click here to listen to Burgum's comments.

Burgum said in addition to allowing additional oil production in western North Dakota, the cross-state pipeline project would create economic development opportunities in the east and generate additional tax revenue for the state.

Click here to listen to Burgum's comments.

Representatives of Dakota Natural Gas, a company that has recently developed natural gas distribution systems in Hillsboro, Mayville and Drayton, requested an amendment to the bill that would have allowed the ND Industrial Commission to offer matching grants for municipal distribution pipelines. DNG President Cody Chilson said such projects would support the pipeline, but are currently uneconomic for most unserved cities.

Click here to listen to Chilson's comments.

The Senate Appropriations Committee did not adopt the DNG Amendment.

On final consideration on the Senate floor, Appropriations Chairman Ray Holmberg of Grand Forks, characterized the cross-state pipeline as a "legacy project" that would enable North Dakota to compete with other states for industrial development.

Click here to listen to Holmberg's comments.

Because the $150 million allocation may not be enough to attract a pipeline developer, language was added to the bill expressing the legislature's intent that the 2023 Legislature "consider providing additional funding ... for the transportation and competitive selling of natural gas to eastern North Dakota." SB 2345 also includes $10 million that would support construction of a separate pipeline project that would provide additional natural gas to Grand Forks by tapping the Viking Pipeline in western Minnesota.