Natural Resource Development
Natural resource development has unparalleled potential in Montana. However it is being limited not only by the lack of government cooperation, but also the need for sufficient infrastructure in place to accommodate development.
To start, we must review our laws, regulations, policy, and tax structure to assure Montana can compete with our natural resource development competition in other states. We need only to look next door to North Dakota to see how better infrastructure and a pro-business focused state government has allowed both the coal and oil industry to bring high paying jobs to their state. As governor, I will ensure that Montana exceeds the successes of our neighbors to the east and focus on creating significant economic growth by tapping the treasures just beneath our feet.
Natural resource development must be supported with sufficient investment in efficient transportation, storm water drainage, sewer, water, and utility expansion in order to optimize extraction economics.
The XL pipeline is only the beginning, and its completion will provide a vital form of “well to market” transportation. However, without the coordinated effort of state agencies and private businesses in the building of roads and rail facilities, as well as adequate oil storage facilities, oil and natural gas producers will see their wells producing faster than the existing infrastructure can send it to market.
Unlike the Otter Creek coal reserves, where environmental litigation continues to obstruct economic development and job creation, new natural resource development will be ushered in under new priorities. This will require the streamlining of permit processing, as well as appointing agency directors that understand the sense of urgency that is required to best take advantage of these resources.
As governor I will encourage programs like the Tongue River Drainage Agronomic Monitoring and Protection Program, created by private business to ensure that coal bed natural gas production would not harm the soil. Efforts like these pair local agriculture interests with natural resource companies and along with state agencies, establish a combined effort in providing the type of economic development that all Montanans can benefit from.
As a state we need to be innovative and willing to enter into public private partnership opportunities that incentivize private investment in our oil fields. Supported by tax revenue from resource development we can offset the cost of infrastructure improvements and education costs to this state and reduce property tax. Through limited yet responsive government, natural resource development during my administration will bring about more jobs, better roads, improved schools, and lower taxes.