Plain Talk: ‘The cleanest barrel of oil in the world’


MINOT, N.D. — Thanks to Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, and politics that are largely hostile to oil and gas development here in America, our energy prices are skyrocketing.

You know it.

You’ve been to a fuel pump lately.

You’ve seen the prices at the grocery store.

Oil touches nearly every part of our lives, and when its price goes up, our lives get more expensive a lot faster than most of us can make more money.

On this episode of Plain Talk, Ron Ness, president of North Dakota’s oil industry group Petroleum Council, argues that American energy policies have had been “exporting our guilt” to other parts of the world.

From political activism to litigation to government regulation, we’ve made producing oil and gas in America harder even as demand for those products has continued to climb. This has been great for countries like Russia and Venezuela even as it drives up prices for Americans.

Even worse, Ness notes, this trend is bad for the environment. Russia’s regulation of oil and gas development is not as responsible as America’s.

Oil and gas produced in America is going to be cleaner oil and gas.

North Dakota oil, specifically, can be “the cleanest barrel of oil in the world,” Ness says, but points out that domestic policies, such as the Biden administration’s moratorium on leases on federal lands as well as its insistence on running up the price of production by tacking on so-called “social costs,” are making it harder to produce that barrel.

Ness also discusses North Dakota’s oil tax policy, saying a trigger that kicks in a higher tax rate at high oil prices should go away in favor of a flat tax.