“Too many sources of generation are being considered baseload,” said U.S. Representative Kelly Armstrong, (R-North Dakota) during a Town Hall meeting with Lignite Energy Council members. The virtual meeting was held on Wednesday afternoon. Armstrong noted that the brownouts and rolling blackouts occurring in California this week are due to the over-reliance on intermittent energy sources instead of traditional baseload sources that are represented by coal, natural gas and nuclear generation.
Armstrong, North Dakota’s lone congressman, is in the minority in the U.S. House, which is run by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-California). He said despite the partisan clashes in big ticket items, about 60 percent of the legislation that is introduced is eventually passed on a bipartisan basis. The rub comes from the major bills – such as funding for the U.S. Postal Service — which can often become partisan.
He said that Congress should be looking at ways to reduce the regulations on energy sources, transportation of energy and other energy-related infrastructure to ensure that capital markets can be accessed for necessary investments. Regulatory delays can impede access to capital.
When it comes to baseload generation, such as what North Dakota’s lignite-based power plants provide, Armstrong said there are factions in the Democratic party that do not like the way North Dakota conducts business. One of the outgrowths of this is Measure 3 that will appear on the November ballot in North Dakota.
Armstrong said that Measure 3 includes five unrelated items that would change the North Dakota constitution. He said out-of-state backers are looking for ways to change the constitution to make it easier for Democrats to win elections in North Dakota.
“They don’t like the way we do business and they want to change the rules, which would not be in the best interests of North Dakotans,” he added, noting that defeating Measure 3 would go along way in keeping out-of-state interests from interfering in how the state is run.
Regarding Covid-19, Armstrong said he continues to believe that local control is best. He said that closing down Bismarck because of a spike in New York City doesn’t make sense. Nor does shutting down New York City because of a spike in Bismarck.
He went on to say that the pandemic has brought many weaknesses of the supply chain to the forefront and that the federal government can make changes because this involves interstate commerce.
Prior to Armstrong’s Town Hall, the Lignite Energy Council has also hosted U.S. Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer to similar virtual meetings.
“It’s important to hear from our Congressional Delegation as the federal government is important to the state of North Dakota and its many industries including the lignite industry,” stated LEC President and CEO Jason Bohrer.