Sen. John Hoeven spent time in southwest North Dakota on Monday to discuss federal issues that could impact local communities and advocated for the censure of some current regulations that indicate government overreach. Hoeven, R-N.D., spent the morning in Bowman, and traveled to Amidon in the afternoon.
With emphasis on Bowman County’s agricultural and energy sectors, Hoeven, headed a roundtable discussion with a diverse group of area leaders at Bowman Lodge and Convention Center, during which he overviewed key pieces of legislation and regulations of concern.
“Agriculture is No. 1 for our economy,” Hoeven said during the roundtable, which saw several farmers and ranchers in attendance.
To underscore the importance of agriculture in the country and particularly in North Dakota, Hoeven stressed the need for changes to the Waters of the U.S. Rule.
The rule ensures waters protected under the Clean Water Act are more precisely defined, more predictably determined, and easier for businesses and industry to understand, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
In addition to farming, the rule could impose upon oil and natural gas exploration.
Hoeven called the rule an invasion of private property rights.
“The EPA could come in … and say they’re not managing their water right so they need to change their operation,” he said.
They don’t have that authority, he added. “We’ve got a federal government that’s just too overbearing.”
A provision to defund part of the rule was passed through the Senate Appropriations Committee but a resolution passed by the Senate to completely repeal the rule was subsequently vetoed by President Barack Obama.
The legality of the rule is currently being contested in court and would not be implemented nationwide until a final ruling is issued.
Hoeven said the regulation should ultimately be fully rescinded.
Similar overreaching political maneuvers affecting the energy industry are frequent, according to Hoeven.
Rules on hydraulic fracturing, methane, stream buffers, carbon dioxide emissions and ozone are further examples of legislators “piling on regulations,” which Hoeven said makes it more costly and harder for the country to compete on a global stage.
Hoeven arrived at 1 p.m. and spent about an hour and a half speaking and answering questions at the Slope County Courthouse. Slope County Auditor Lorrie Buzalsky said about 12 people were in attendance that included the county commissioners and the Mayor of Amidon. Members from the Little Missour Graizing Assosciation.
Buzalsky said the event was interesting and informative. She said Hoeven said he mostly spoke about some of the things that were going on in Washington, D.C., and spent much of the time answering questions from the crowd about various bills in Congress.
Similar to Bowman, Buzalsky said the majority of the conversation was on the Waters of the U.S. Rule, and other EPA topics.
Buzalsky said the event went very well, and added that she was happy to see a North Dakota dignitary visit this part of the state.
“It was nice to see a federal representative come to this part of the state,” Buzalsky said. “We don’t get many of those dignitary people in southwest North Dakota.”
Herald Editor Cole Benz contributed to this story.