BISMARCK, ND – In “Booming North Dakota,” a recently published article in the conservative flagship journal National Review, author Jay Nordlinger discusses the Bakken oil boom and how North Dakota government policies are encouraging strong economic growth through the implementation of conservative, free market principles.
Calling ND’s Public Service Commissioner Kevin Cramer a “free-marketeer,” Nordlinger praises Cramer’s leadership approach to energy regulation as one that fosters private sector investment and economic growth while respecting the rights of land owners and businesses alike.
There tend not to be regulation wars in North Dakota: wars between government and industry, liberals and conservatives, crunchies and capitalists. (Pretty much everyone in North Dakota is a crunchy. And, increasingly, a capitalist.) People tend to solve problems together. There is a tradition of “North Dakota nice.” Kevin Cramer says, “I tell companies, if you want to get along with me, get along with the people out where you’re working. If you don’t get along with them, you don’t get along with me.”
Nordlinger further quotes Cramer, a top state leader and current US House candidate, as someone who recognizes the value of the state’s rich natural resources and the advantages of having those resources owned and managed by private individuals:
And yet, it doesn’t hurt to have a Bakken formation. Kevin Cramer, a member of the Public Service Commission, and a Republican candidate for Congress, is grinningly aware of this. He recalls an old Steve Martin skit on Saturday Night Live: You can become a millionaire and never pay taxes! How? Well, first get a million dollars. “Let’s be honest,” says Cramer: “No politician invented the Bakken.” He also points out that North Dakota is blessed with private lands, rather than state or federal ones: Almost all of the Bakken is in private hands. “So that made it easier right out of the chute,” says Cramer. Companies could invest their capital and get a return on it.
And it would not be a complete piece on the North Dakota boom without mentioning the Obama administration’s aggressive war on fossil fuels and the ever-present shadow of a power-hungry EPA, a very real threat looming constantly over the shoulder of North Dakotans’ prosperity.
While others talk about “energy independence,” Kevin Cramer prefers to talk about “energy security.” Like many another free-marketeer, he’s happy to import cheap oil from abroad. But it never hurts to have some in your own back pocket, just in case. Even in the rockin’ Bakken, oilmen are getting just a fraction of what’s there: between 6 and 8 percent. With future technology, who knows what will be possible?
But there are those who would keep the Bakken from rockin’, who would kill the goose laying the golden eggs. I ask several people what the biggest threat to them is, and they say, to a man or woman, “The EPA.” (Some say price collapse, too.) If the Environmental Protection Agency decides to ban or stifle fracking, “we’re out of business,” as Cramer says. The Obama administration is clearly no fan of oil.
With today’s soaring debt, high unemployment and crippling federal regulations, the failure of the liberal agenda – expanding federal government agencies, encouraging dependency on government programs and increasing government interference in the private sector economy – has never been clearer. If there is any hope for true national recovery, that hope lies in returning to conservative principles championed by Ronald Reagan: faith in the free market, individual risk, responsibility and reward, and common sense conservative values. Kevin Cramer knows what it takes; he’s helped make it happen – implementing those conservative principles time and again right here at home in North Dakota.
Click here to read Nordlinger’s full article in the National Review.