Tracy Potter on Energy & Oil
Potter was struck by the "gold rush mentality" he saw at a Bismarck oil conference last month. "It seemed to me that we were in a real hurry to get everything out of the ground that we could as fast as we could. There are inherent problems with that," he said. "We're not getting the maximum we can from this."
The federal government can help respond to infrastructure needs in western N.D., Potter said. That includes making sure the roads are adequate to handle the increasing heavy truck traffic--including converting US Highway 85 into a four-lane highway. "We have a $40 billion trade imbalance per month right now, half of which comes from imported oil," he said.
But there are problems with that oil boom. Potter said N.D. has a hard time getting its product to the market, meaning crude from the state is discounted by about 10%. "And of course, as we increase production, if we don't keep pace with pipeline capacit or other means of using the oil, such as a refinery, the discounting will just get worse," he said. Infrastructure is not keeping pace with increasing development, Potter said. "Where's the vision?" he asked. "Where's the leadership that we need to bring that into something that is more sustainable for us? Well, here's one: a federal, state and local partnership."
"This is a national security issue," he said. "At the same time, it is our duty to our grandchildren to get this right."
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