The top legislative priority for the Lignite Energy Council in the 2019 Legislative Session was House Bill 1439. The bill creates a tax exemption for the use of lignite-based carbon dioxide in the process of enhanced oil recovery or secure geologic storage. On Wednesday evening, the governor signed the legislation into law.
Burgum’s office released the following statement to the press:
“Gov. Doug Burgum today signed legislation providing an economic incentive to use carbon dioxide captured from North Dakota’s coal-fired power plants for enhanced oil recovery by injecting the carbon dioxide underground.
Under House Bill 1439, incremental oil produced by injecting coal-generated carbon dioxide will be exempt from oil extraction taxes. Incremental oil produced from the Bakken or Three Forks formations will be exempt for a period of 10 years, and incremental oil produced from other formations will be exempt for a period of 20 years.
The legislation supports initiatives such as Project Tundra, which proposes to use technology developed with the Energy & Environmental Research Center in Grand Forks to capture up to 95 percent of the carbon dioxide from MinnKota Power’s Milton R. Young power plant near Center. The captured gas would be used to extract oil that would otherwise remain stranded in rock formations. The EERC estimates an additional 1 billion barrels of oil can be produced from older “legacy” oil and gas fields outside the Bakken using carbon for enhanced oil recovery.
“This is a win-win for North Dakotans,” Burgum said. “Our coal industry, partnering with the EERC, has been leading the charge in capturing carbon dioxide emissions. By providing the economic incentive needed to transform these emissions into a valuable commodity, we will continue to be a nationwide leader in environmental stewardship while simultaneously increasing our energy production and strengthening our economy.”
House Bill 1439 was introduced by Rep. Todd Porter, R-Mandan, and co-sponsored by House Majority Leader Chet Pollert, Reps. Jeff Delzer, Jason Dockter, Craig Headland, Michael Howe and Corey Mock, Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, and Sens. Dwight Cook, Jim Dotzenrod, Scott Meyer and Jessica Unruh. It was approved 92-0 in the House and 45-2 in the Senate. The bill was championed by the Lignite Energy Council and backed by the EmPower Commission.”