“I will not sit idly by and watch this President steal the jobs, hopes, and dreams of my constituents,” Rep. Kevin Cramer said today on the floor of the House of what he described as President Obama’s war on coal. “Nor will I sit idly by while he and his EPA impose their mediocrity on my state’s excellent stewardship of our natural resources. North Dakota will not retreat from this war waged on us by our President. We must and we will fight back.”
Rep. Cramer’s dig at federal “mediocrity” is especially sharp given that North Dakota is a shining example of balance between fossil fuel energy development and environmental stewardship. Despite being home to a number of large coal-fired power plants which produce cheap electricity for North Dakota and surrounding states, and despite being home to one of the largest oil fields in the world where there is much natural gas flaring going on, North Dakota also has some of the cleanest air in the country especially in oil and gas counties.
I’ve mentioned before that North Dakota is inconvenient for President Obama’s politics. Despite the impact North Dakota’s energy economy is having on the rest of the nation, President Obama doesn’t talk about North Dakota much. That’s because what’s going on here doesn’t fit the narrative.
Of course, reality doesn’t fit President Obama’s narrative. He wants to implement heavy, expensive new regulations to combat a climate crisis by regulating carbon emissions when a) climate change doesn’t seem to be happening (global temperatures have been largely static for a decade and a half) and b) America is already leading the world in reductions in carbon emissions (thanks fracking!).
But what President Obama specifically wants to do would be awful for North Dakota’s economy. He wants to “increase standards for carbon dioxide emissions from new and existing power plants, more fuel standards for heavy-duty trucks and efficiency targets for appliances and buildings,” according to the Washington Examiner, which means not just a threat to North Dakota’s coal-fired power plants but to our other industries like oil and farming that are very dependent on trucking.
In essence, what President Obama wants to do is push the off button for North Dakota. No thanks.