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Legislature passes ARPA bill, which spends nearly $1 billion

The North Dakota Legislature has approved spending of $1 billion dollars from the American Recovery Plan Act – the latest round of federal COVID-19 relief funds.

In it is $150 million in seed money for the construction of a natural gas “trunk line” – bringing that gas from the Bakken to central and eastern North Dakota. That bill also contains “intent language,” which says the 2023 Legislature should consider looking at increasing the amount of seed money.

"We don't have the dollar figure," said House Appropriations Committee chairman Jeff Delzer (R-Underwood).

Delzer said some estimates for that seed money have gone as high as $350 million.

"It should release an awful lot of pressure on our flaring situation," Delzer said. "The hope is that we can produce more oil because of this."

Overall, the ARPA bill spends $944 million of the federal money, leaving about $63 million for the 2023 Legislature to work with.

Under federal guidelines, the ARPA money must be appropriated by 2023, and spent by 2024.

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