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Is $150 million enough commitment from the state to build a natural gas pipeline?

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Dave Thompson, Prairie Public
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House Majority Leader Chet Pollert (R-Carrington) and Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson)

Legislative leaders say there is agreement between both houses on using $150 million of the federal COVID-19 relief funds to provide seed money for the proposed natural gas pipeline, to bring Bakken gas to central and eastern North Dakota.

But some lawmakers and industry leaders say that may not be enough.

House Majority Leader Chet Pollert (R-Carrington) said the pipeline itself will have a price tag between $900 million and $1 billion.

"If I'm correct, they're talking about a state commitment of $300 to $350 million," Pollert said. "But all we can do is talk about intent language."

Pollert said a Legislature cannot bind the hands of future Legislatures And he said that's why the Appropriations Committees are looking at some intent language about a bigger state commitment.

"One of the folks who came to me said, 'We need intent language,'" Pollert said. "And I told him, 'You're telling me $150 million is not enough intent language for us to tell you we want this thing?'"

Gov. Burgum had originally proposed $100 million in seed money.

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