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Gov. Burgum expects to include more money for legal fights with the EPA in his executive budget proposal

Gov. Doug Burgum addresses interim Energy Development and Transmission Committee
Dave Thompson
Gov. Doug Burgum addresses interim Energy Development and Transmission Committee

Gov. Doug Burgum said the state is already incurring legal fees to fight the Biden Administration over new environmental policies that he said could stifle North Dakotas fossil fuels industry.

And Burgum said it could get worse.

He told the legislature’s interim Energy Development and Transmission Committee the state already has $15 million set aside for legal action in the current biennium. And he said in the new budget discussions, his office will prepare two different legal budgets – to reflect who is elected President.

"If this (Biden) administration is still in office, our budget is going to reflect a much higher request for legal fees than not," Burgum told the Committee. "That's because as it was during the past, our state saw, in the second term of the Obama administration, they saved some of the really hard stuff for the second go-around. And so, as bad as it is right now, I don't want anybody to think it couldn't get worse, because it could."

Burgum said taxes on oil and on coal are a big share of the state’s revenues. And he said that revenue would be at risk.

State Department of Environmental Quality director David Glatt told the Committee North Dakota has the best air quality in the nation – but the EPA said it’s not enough.

"It's sad — EPA has really diminished its credibility, by proposing some of these non-science based illegal rules," Glatt told the Committee. "But we need to be in the game. You either have a seat at the table, or you're on the menu."

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