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This March, North Dakota’s governor, Doug Burgum, beatific a letter to the Federal Activity Authoritative Commission (Ferc) absolutely acknowledging the North Bakken Expansion Project, a 61.9-mile accustomed gas activity that has angered environmentalists and Native American nations alike.
Building pipelines, the 8 March letter stated, “ensures the abiding activity of our state’s oil and gas industry, preserves the affection of our environment, and allows our state’s producers to capitalize on this admired article while bartering markets in need”.
Yet Burgum’s letter bare a key detail: it was based on a arrangement provided by Justin Dever, a chief accessible diplomacy administrator for MDU Resources.
The band that claimed the activity would bolster both the oil and gas industry and “the affection of our environment”, was aerial accurately from the arrangement letter beatific by Dever, email accord acquired through a accessible annal appeal shows.
The letter beatific by Burgum was one allotment of a broader ghostwriting attack that saw several key legislators accelerate pro-pipeline abutment belletrist ghostwritten by admiral of MDU Resources – a accessory of the deposit ammunition behemothic WBI Activity – to key authoritative agencies.
The records, acquired by the babysitter accumulation the Activity Policy Institute and provided to the Guardian, appearance that three North Dakota accompaniment legislators and a Williams county, North Dakota, abettor active and mailed belletrist to Ferc and the US army band of engineers that reproduced exact belletrist beatific to them by MDU Resources’ political strategists.
Although the deposit ammunition industry’s ascendancy of North Dakota backroom is well-known, the annal afford new ablaze on the admeasurement of the industry’s role in abstraction what the accessible – and federal regulators – apprehend about these industries from admiring accompaniment and bounded officials.
The North Bakken Expansion Activity activity would bear accustomed gas from Bakken shale assembly sites in western North Dakota to an alternation point with the Northern Border pipeline, which extends from western Canada to a abuttals abreast Hayden, Indiana, and is endemic by TC Activity – best accepted as the architect of the Keystone XL tar bank pipeline.
Ferc is appointed to aphorism on the activity this advancing November, with MDU Resources aiming to put it in operation by backward 2021.
Those politicians who reproduced an MDU Resources abutment letter accurately accommodate the North Dakota accompaniment agent Dale Patten and North Dakota abode assembly Keith Kempenich and Denton Zubke, who collectively active a letter to FERC on 20 February supplied by aggregation lobbyist Cory Fong, a above North Dakota tax commissioner.
In addition adumbration of the revolving aperture in North Dakota politics, MDU Resources’ Dever – who supplied the arrangement letter to Burgum – was ahead an official with the North Dakota business department.
Burgum’s appointment and Barry Ramburg, the Williams canton abettor who reproduced an MDU Resources letter, did not acknowledge to requests for animadversion on this story. A agent for MDU Resources wrote in a account that they see annihilation abnormal about accessible admiral casual off belletrist accounting by the aggregation as their own.
“Our aggregation commonly issues advice about our projects, and requests abutment from adopted officials,” the agent declared via email. “If an adopted official or a affiliate of the accessible chooses to carbon that information, in allotment or whole, to articulation their abutment or affair for the capital basement and casework our aggregation provides, they are acceptable to do so. In this instance, we acknowledge Governor Burgum’s abutment of this analytical activity basement activity that allowances North Dakota and the nation.”
Ted Auch, Great Lakes affairs coordinator of the bloom and assurance babysitter alignment FracTrack, says the ghostwriting of belletrist by a fracking aggregation is the best arrant archetype of the industry’s ascendancy over a accompaniment government that he has anytime encountered.
“I’ve been accomplishing a lot of activity assignment in the accomplished eight years, and it’s accepted for the industry to appoint in political subterfuge,” says Auch, whose alignment appear a beheld abstraction this ages of fracking’s ecology impacts in North Dakota. “But this absolutely takes the cake.”
The Aboriginal Ecology Network’s activity and altitude attack coordinator, Kandi White, who is from North Dakota and grew up on the Fort Berthold reservation, recalls how the oil and gas industry’s ability in the accompaniment went on affectation afore the apple during the attempt apropos the Dakota Access pipeline.
In that case, aboriginal bodies and their allies, who were attempting to stop the pipeline’s construction, were met with oft-ruthless repression by badge admiral alive at the bidding of adopted accompaniment officials.
“After what happened to us at Standing Rock, this about doesn’t abruptness me – almost,” White says.
North Dakota is the US’s second-largest oil-producing accompaniment abaft Texas attributable to the ability of the Bakken Shale formation. Executives for the oil and gas industry gave over $100,000 to Burgum’s 2016 acclamation campaign, according to North Dakota secretary of accompaniment data.
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