Daily headlines are so packed with political stories that it can be easy to forget some that drew significant attention only a year or two earlier. The Dakota Access pipeline, for example, was a red hot focal point in 2016 when many of the Sioux tribes marched against the pipeline’s construction sites in North Dakota. Based on concerns for water safety and oil leaks, the protests became an international issue, with one report saying that the demonstrations would certainly reshape “the national conversation for any environmental project that would cross the Native American land.”
Things came to a head when bulldozers entered and destroyed a historic and sacred site on native lands. Because no single federal agency has jurisdiction over the entire pipeline, only one federal judge has expressed concerns, saying that the Army Corps of Engineers failed to consider the impact of even a single spill on the rights of Native Americans. And so, the pipeline was completed and began operations in early 2017, and pumps around 500k barrels of oil daily.
At the time that all of the controversieswere brewing around construction, and while Native Americans in North Dakota were being arrested during protests, an article appeared on the Desmog website. In it, the journalists explained that “Senator John Hoeven recently came out in support of the Dakota Access pipeline, the hotly contested Energy Transfer Partners-owned pipeline envisioned to move oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale basin.
As the pipeline transports oil across North and South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, it will cross farms, natural areas, and perhaps most notably, ancestral lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which is one of several tribes disagreeing with Sen. Hoeven’s assessment that this pipeline is ‘infrastructure we need.’”
And, naturally, as someone tasked with helping nurture the state’s industry, he should well know what will be of most significant benefit. As that article pointed out, “What Sen. Hoeven — an outspoken supporter of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline — did not mention, however, is his investment in 68 different oil-producing wells in North Dakota under the auspices of the company Mainstream Investors, LLC.”
Such investments are deeply disturbing in light of a few facts:
- The Senator is a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, which is tasked with “the responsibility to ensure tribal concerns are heard and adequately addressed.”
- He repeatedly insists that he has “been supportive and ‘respectful’ of tribal concerns about consultation during the pipeline permitting process, despite criticisms from three federal agencies about the process and continued complaints and protests from tribal members.”
- He has received thousands in campaign contributions from Continental Resources, a firm that owns 17 of the wells in which the Senator has invested.
- Senator Hoeven is also heavily invested in “33 North Dakota-based oil wells owned by Whiting Petroleum Corporation and hundreds of thousands of dollars more in investments in seven wells owned by ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO Energy. Both companies have donated generously to his 2016 senate campaign.”
All of this is a bit too much overlap for many, though the Senator’s spokesperson insists that he makes all decisions based on merit and that his support for the pipeline had nothing to do with his investments and campaign funding.
Campaign funding is a very challenging issue these days, and influence from backers is of significant concern. It is impossible to say whether high amounts of instate support or more is worrisome than tons of out of state funding. In the 2016 elections, for example, Senator Hoeven received 92% of his backing from out of state sources in what was one of the most expensive campaigns in the state’s history.
Why would the sources of campaign support matter? In two words: Dark Money.
In 2019, Senator Chuck Grassley penned an essay about financial influence in American politics, noting the risk of influence originating from outside sources. In it, he said, “This is a serious problem that should unnerve anyone in government being lobbied on policy matters.If lobbyists or public-relations firms are peddling policy preferences…we ought to know about it… Congress must keep an eye on this threat, strengthen our defenses against hidden…influence, and preserve the voice of the American people.”
Such hidden influences are the “dark money” mentioned above, and a few recent issues have only made things worse. They include:
- The Citizens United ruling – This is a 2010 Supreme Court determined that “the free speech clause of the first amendment prohibits the government from restricting corporations from making political expenditures,” a decision many viewed as flinging open the doors to corporate and other sources of funding.
- The rise of PACs and Super PACs (Political Action Committees)- These groups are non-profit entities not legally required to reveal the names of donors. They often work around traditional tax and campaign finance rules, limiting opportunities to create influence. They become PACs by exceeding the $2600 spending cap in a federal election. The difference between a PAC and SuperPAC is that the latter cannot donate to parties or candidates; they are allowed to spend unlimited sums on marketing methods or costly ad campaigns. They also have no caps on the amounts they can accept from groups or individuals. These rules are what have enabled the rise of “dark money” influencers, and campaign finance experts say “spending of this kind (in which groups did not reveal their donors) climbed rapidly from five million dollars in the year 2006 to more than three hundred million dollars in 2012.”
- FEC and IRS are not doing enough about PAC funding. In early December of 2018, the Center for Responsive Politics reported that the Senate had voted to “prevent ‘dark money’ from getting even darker.” The Senate had just managed to approve a resolution designed to cut the new “Treasury Department policy that no longer requires some 501(c) tax-exempt nonprofits — including politically active 501(c)(4) ‘dark money’ groups — to disclose donor names and addresses in tax returns submitted to the IRS.” This was, said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was necessary for preventing the leaking of confidential donor details, but which left many worried that without names of donors appearing in IRS records, it is impossible to figure where hundreds of millions of dollars spent on elections originate. The IRS is already unable to address noncompliance issues with politically active nonprofits and the FEC consistently fails to generate policy to deter dark money’s intentions – influence
All of this is behind such innovations as Senator Elizabeth Warren’s “People’s Pledge,” as well as pledges by presidential potentials forgoing corporate PACs and other similar contributors.
After all, such contributions are not from everyday voters, or even what might be designated the traditionally wealthy. They are from the mega-wealthy, “effectively in control of American politics, writing six- and seven-figure checks to super PAC’s to support ad campaigns that confuse viewers and distort the views and records of candidates.” They are not always apparent in their intent, either, with some explaining how they use power for “subtle things that are less top of mind, less likely to be in the news — some amendment tucked into a larger bill…[and] greater access for friendly lobbyists.”
Thus, Senator Hoeven’s strong ties to the oil companies operating in his state and his support of their efforts to build pipelines harshly opposed by the people whose lands they cross or put at risk for pollution.
Does this Senator show other signs of influence? It is what we’ll try to do in this article, and we will use a few additional sets of information in our evaluation. They are:
- The Senator’s publicly stated priorities and issues
- Senator Hoeven’s committee and caucus activities
- The Senator’s key sources of campaign funding
- Senator Hoeven’s most recent legislative items sponsored or co-sponsored
With such details, we can start to identify influence. And we mustfactor employ other information to support any conclusions, including his bipartisanship ratings, conservative rankings, and more.
For example, Senator Hoeven rates highly in the Lugar Center Bipartisanship Index, at 37th on the list; indicating legislation he creates typically attracts the support of Democrats and that he often supports their efforts. And his “Trump Score” from FiveThirtyEight for the 116th Congress hovers at 88%, meaning that he typically supports President Trump’s policies.
However, the Conservative Review dramatically disapproves of the Senator’s work, giving him a numeric Liberty Score of just 32% and a letter grade of “F”. His approval ratings in the Senate are quite astonishing, too, and he is ranked seventh among Republican colleagues and has a net approval of 55%.
About Senator John Hoeven
Born in North Dakota in 1957, he attended Dartmouth College and graduated from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management with an MBA. Upon graduating, and while working at his father’s bank, he was in charge of the trust department. He became the president and CEO of the Bank of North Dakota, and then ran for and won the role of the Governor for the state in 2000. He remained there for two more terms before running in the 2010 Senate election. He won and assumed office in 2011, and took the seat again in 2017.
Noted as one of the wealthiest senators, his official website says his “priorities in the Senate include working to implement national policies similar to the ones driving North Dakota’s economic success. He is committed to creating a business climate that fosters job growth and robust economic activity. Equally important to the senator are measures to reduce the nation’s budget deficits and debt. He believes a commonsense approach that fosters free enterprise and empowers people to innovate and invest will strengthen our national economy and create jobs for our country in a sustainable, ongoing way.”
The site notes that he has “been leading efforts to develop a comprehensive national energy plan…[believing] such an approach will lead to jobs, economic growth and true energy security for America.” He also identifies the following issues as important to his constituents:
- Agriculture and the Farm Bill
- Health Care
- Jobs, Economy and Fiscal Responsibility
- National Security
- Public Safety and Quality of Life
- Veterans and Military
- Water Infrastructure and Flood Protection
ProPublica tracks politicians and monitors how they vote, the most common subjects of bills they sponsor and even what issues are the most common in their press releases. They have identified that Senator Hoeven focuses on the following items in his legislation:
- Native Americans
- Armed Forces and National Security
- Transportation and Public Works
- Sports and Recreation
The press releases around his policy priorities don’t exactly align, and in ranking order have emphasized:
- Transportation and Public Works
- Agriculture and Food
- Armed Forces and National Security
- Science, Technology and Communications
- Water Resources Development
We need to look at more information to determine his authentic focus and better gauge whether he faces any influence.
Senator Hoeven’s Committee Work
For the 116th Congress, Senator Hoeven is assigned to the following committees and subcommittees:
- Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
- Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade
- Subcommittee on Nutrition, Agricultural Research, and Specialty Crops
- Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy
- Committee on Appropriations
- Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies (Chairman)
- Subcommittee on Department of Defense
- Subcommittee on Department of Homeland Security
- Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
- Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
- Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
- Subcommittee on Energy
- Subcommittee on National Parks
- Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining
- Committee on Indian Affairs (Chairman)
He also belongs to an astonishing number of caucuses, including:
- Air Force Caucus
- Broadband Caucus
- Broadcast Caucus
- Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus
- E-911 Caucus
- Former Governors Caucus
- General Aviation Caucus
- Hydrogen Fuel Cell Caucus
- ICBM Coalition
- Impact Aid Coalition
- Law Enforcement Caucus
- National Guard Caucus
- Norwegian Caucus
- Ports-to-Plains Caucus
- Port-to-Plains Caucus
- Rural Education Caucus
- Rural Health Caucus
- Senate Cultural Caucus
- Senate Entrepreneurship Caucus
- Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force
- Senate Veterans Jobs Caucus
- Senate Western Caucus
- UAS Integration Working Group
- Unmanned Aerial Systems Caucus
All of this aligns with some of his priorities, but as we have seen, it also opened him up to scrutiny about just who his efforts served best. To understand this a bit more means looking at his campaign’s most significant contributors; which could pose a possible source of influence.
The Top Industries Funding Senator Hoeven Campaign Efforts
In 2016, Senator Hoeven’s campaign raised $$3,797,124.00and spent $$2,786,736.00, leaving with more than one million on hand. This support came from an array of industries, and we’ll look at those contributors in three distinct groupings:
- The industries in which the Senator was a “favorite,” or top recipient in the last campaign cycle (2016)
- The industries that contributed the largest amount of financial support
- Individual organizations that donated the most
According to the Open Secrets Website, Senator Hoeven was not an industry favorite in 2016, but many other industries contributed towards his re-election, and the 20 sectors that gave the most, overall, in 2016 were (in ranking order):
- Oil & Gas
- Leadership PACs
- Electric Utilities
- Crop Production & Basic Processing
- Securities & Investment
- Real Estate
- Agricultural Services/Products
- Miscellaneous Manufacturing & Distributing
- Lawyers/Law Firms
- Commercial Banks
- Miscellaneous Energy
- Pharmaceuticals/Health Products
- Defense Aerospace
- Health Professionals
There were also the individual organizations contributing the most, and which are listed below. NOTE: None of these organizations or groups donated directly to the campaign. Instead, they worked with PACs or had direct employee contributions for the 2016 election, and were:
- Edison Chouest Offshore- A “family of companies in the marine transportation business based in Cut Off, Louisiana. ECO owns and operates a fleet of Platform supply vessels, Subsea Construction / IMR vessels, a Riserless Light Well Intervention vessel, Anchor handling tug supply vessels, Oil Spill Response Vessels, and Well Stimulation Vessels, as well as an independently owned fleet of Research Vessels and Ice Breakers,” in addition to shipyards.
- BNSF Railway – It “operates one of the largest freight railroad networks in North America, with 32500 miles of rail across the western two-thirds of the United States,” it “has 44,000 employees, 32,500 miles (52,300 km) of track in 28 states, and more than 8,000 locomotives. It has three transcontinental routes that provide rail connections between the western and eastern United States. BNSF trains traveled over 169 million miles (272 million km) in 2010, more than any other North American railroad.”
- Westport Properties – They “offer the managing of rental units, condo association management and management of commercial space,” as well as storage facilities.
- Jennmar Corp – It “develops and manufactures ground control products. The Company provides roof support and rock reinforcement, standing support, surface and skin support, resin and pumpable cement products, and accessories. Jennmar serves customers worldwide.”
- MBI Energy Services – “provides water management and logistics, and well intervention services for the oil and gas industry in the Williston Basin. It offers winch and flatbed, service rigs, fishing and rentals, oil hauling, and hot oil services. MBI Energy Services Inc. was formerly known as Missouri Basin Well Service, Inc. The company was founded in 1979 and is based in Belfield, North Dakota with operations in Bismarck, Dickinson, Killdeer, Ross, Watford City, and Williston, North Dakota; and an additional office in Midland, Texas.”
- Apollo Management – It “specializes in leveraged buyout transactions and purchases of distressed securities involving corporate restructuring, special situations, and industry consolidations. Apollo is headquartered in New York City, and also has offices in Purchase, New York, Los Angeles, Houston, London, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Madrid, Singapore, Hong Kong, Delhi, and Mumbai.”
- Hess Corp – “An American global independent energy company engaged in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas.”
- Marvin Windows – “Marvin and its three brands create windows and doors that are ready to take on any project, whether it be a new construction, remodel or replacement.”
- Brownstein, Hyatt et al – “A lobbying and law firm based in the United States with 250 attorneys and policy consultants in 11 offices across the western U.S. and in Washington, D.C.”
- Select Energy Services – It is “an oilfield services company, provides water management and chemical solutions to the onshore oil and natural gas industry in the United States and Western Canada. The company operates through three segments: Water Solutions, Oilfield Chemicals, and Wellsite Services.”
So, this demonstrates that he doesn’t receive a lot of funding from in-state sources. For us to fully understand whether he is acting on his stated priorities or those of a backer, we have to dig a bit into the legislation he supports during the current Congress.
9 Items Senator Hoeven Has Sponsored During the 116th Congress – To Date
For the 116th Congress, to date, Senator Hoeven has 144 pieces of legislation; he sponsored 28 thus far and co-sponsored the remaining 116. The Senator’s official Congressional page indicates that his emphasis in this Congress has been primarily on Native Americans, Armed Forces and National Security, Taxation, Transportation and Public Works, Congress, and more.
S.146 —Move America Act of 2019
Reintroduced on January 16, this bipartisan bill intends to “bring billions of dollars of investment to state and local governments to help grow and repair America’s aging infrastructure,” according to a press release from Senator Hoeven’s office.
Speaking of it, he said, “Reliable and safe infrastructure is vital to every person and industry across our country. The Move America Act would support an injection of much-needed capital into infrastructure projects throughout the nation. The bonds and tax credits created under our legislation provide a complement to federal funding sources and serve as cost-effective, flexible solutions for states and local governments, supporting the construction of a wide array of critical infrastructure.”
That same press release explained that the “American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has estimated the nation will need an additional $2 trillion of infrastructure investment by 2025, above current projections, for the nation to support the economy and remain competitive.”
In order to accomplish these goals, this bill would create capital investment through:
- Move America Bonds
- Move America Tax Credits
With tremendous support from a long list of organizations, including “U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), Associated General Contractors (AGC), American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), Airports Council International (ACI-NA), Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA), International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC),” it was read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.
S.180 —A bill to streamline the oil and gas permitting process and to recognize fee ownership for certain oil and gas drilling or spacing units, and for other purposes
Reintroduced by Senator Hoeven on January 17, this bill (also known as the BLM Mineral Spacing Act), aims to “streamline and improve the permitting process for energy development.”
According to the Senator’s press release about the legislation, currently, if “the federal government owns any subsurface parcel of a spacing unit, an energy producer is required to receive a federal BLM drilling permit in addition to receiving all the necessary permits from the state or other relevant authorities.” This legislation would eliminate the requirement for the federal permit if “less than 50 percent of subsurface minerals are owned or held in trust by the federal government and there is no federal surface land.”
Explaining the need for the bill, Senator Hoeven said, “This legislation is all about ensuring that we have common-sense regulations in place for our energy producers. The BLM Mineral Spacing Act would improve the permitting process where the federal government is a minority mineral owner. Our legislation gives control back to the majority mineral owners and enables the BLM to better utilize its resources.”
The bill was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
S.Res.24 —A resolution supporting a robust and modern ICBM force to maximize the value of the nuclear triad of the United States
Another bipartisan item, this Resolution was introduced on January 17 and supports, “the modernization and maintenance of the nation’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) fleet. The resolution emphasizes the vital role of the U.S. nuclear forces in maintaining national security and stresses that weakening one leg of the nuclear triad undermines the credibility of the entire deterrent.”
When speaking about the legislation, Senator Hoeven said, “ICBMs have long served as part of the foundation of our nation’s security. However, much of our missile fleet is operating well beyond its intended service life. At the same time, our adversaries, including Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, continue to pursue their nuclear ambitions, whether it’s to develop more advanced capabilities or obtain their first nuclear weapon. We have secured strong funding for modernizing our nuclear forces in recent Fiscal Years, including the effort to modernize the ICBM force, and we will continue working to ensure this remains a top priority.”
With co-sponsorship by five other senators, the bill was referred to the Committee on Armed Services.
“Four Pieces of Legislation to Help Improve Public Safety and Economic Development in Indian Country”
Senator Hoeven introduced this package of four bills on January 24. At that time he said, “These four pieces of legislation advance public safety and economic development in Indian Country, priorities which will serve as critical components of the Committee’s work this Congress.
For example, the SURVIVE Act provides tribal communities with critical funding to combat crime and help victims recover. We’re also introducing legislation to spur economic development in our tribal communities. Helping to improve public safety and economic growth and job creation are essential components to providing a high quality of life in Indian Country.”
According to the Senator’s press release about this package, it includes:
S.209 — PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act
Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources
S.210 —Tribal Law and Order Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2019
Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 77
S.211 —SURVIVE Act
Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 84
S.212 —Indian Community Economic Enhancement Act of 2019
Referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, and in addition to the Committee on Education and Labor, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee.
S.407 — Carbon Capture Modernization Act
Still further bipartisan legislation from Senator Hoeven, this bill looks to “modernize the Section 48A tax credit for clean coal facilities to better support the use of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology…[it] would modernize the credit’s performance and efficiency standards to reflect the capabilities of existing technology, which will help promote the adoption of CCS technology and reduce emissions.”
Speaking about it, Senator Hoeven said, “We worked hard with energy stakeholders and researchers in North Dakota and Minnesota to craft legislation that modernizes the 48A tax credit and will better advance the use of CCS technology. This technology is vital to helping ensure our nation can continue to make use of all of its abundant energy resources. Updating this tax credit will help make efforts like Project Tundra more commercially-viable, leading to greater energy production with fewer emissions.”
Endorsed by a long list of organizations, including “Minnkota Power Cooperative, Lignite Energy Council, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, University of North Dakota Energy and Environmental Research Center, BNI Energy, ALLETE Clean Energy, Minnesota Power, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, 8 Rivers Capital, Arch Coal, Carbon Utilization Research Council, ClearPath Action, Cloud Peak Energy, EnergyBlue Project, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, ION Engineering, Peabody, SMART TD and Wyoming Infrastructure Authority,” it was read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.
S.600 —Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act
Another bipartisan bill, this was reintroduced by Senator Hoeven on February 28 and seeks to “reform the Hours of Service (HOS) and Electronic Logging Device (ELD) regulations at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Further, the bill would delay enforcement of the ELD rule until the required reforms are formally proposed by the Transportation Secretary.”
As a press release about the bill explains, it “would establish a working group at DOT to identify obstacles to the safe, humane and market-efficient transport of agricultural commodities, including livestock, and, within one year of the group’s establishment, develop guidelines for regulatory or legislative action to improve the transportation of these commodities. The working group will be comprised of representatives from the transportation and agriculture industries, transportation safety representatives and the U.S. Department of Agriculture…Within 120 days of receiving the working group’s report, the Transportation Secretary must propose regulatory changes to the HOS and ELD regulations, taking into account the findings and recommendations of the working group.”
With support from 14 additional senators, the bill was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
S.1136 —Montgomery GI Bill Parity Act of 2019
Introduced by Senator Hoeven on April 10, the bill “would enable members of the Guard and Reserve to concurrently use GI Bill benefits and Federal Tuition Assistance (FTA) programs to fund their education,” according to a press release from Senator Hoeven’s office.
As it stands now, “individuals who qualify for Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) or the ‘Post 9/11 GI Bill’ are, by statute, able to simultaneously use Tuition Assistance (TA) and GI Bill benefits. In late 2014, DoD issued a policy that prohibits similar concurrent usage of TA with the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR). The Hoeven-Boozman legislation directs DoD to update its policy and allow Guard and Reserve members to utilize both their GI Bill benefits and the Tuition Assistance concurrently, providing parity with active duty servicemembers.”
Senator Hoeven explained his sponsorship, saying “Our legislation is all about supporting our Guard and Reserve members and ensuring they receive the benefits that they have earned. The Montgomery GI Bill Parity Act improves access to education benefits for Guard members and ensures that they are able to utilize their benefits in the same way as active duty servicemembers.”
It was read twice and referred to the Committee on Armed Services.
S.1148 —ATC Hiring Reform Act of 2019
Also known as the Air Traffic Controller (ATC) Hiring Reform Act of 2019, this legislation is designed to “ensure the agency is able to prioritize the hiring of veterans and graduates of FAA Certified Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) schools, candidates who have a statistically lower attrition rate during qualification training at the FAA Academy.”
As a press release from Senator Hoeven explains, “to help train the necessary aviation workforce, the FAA created CTI partnerships with educational institutions, including the University of North Dakota (UND) and Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), to prepare qualified candidates for ATC positions. Graduates of the CTI program are eligible to bypass the Air Traffic Basics Course, which is the first five weeks of qualification training at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City. Students must successfully complete all required training at the FAA Academy to continue employment with the FAA.
However, under current law, the FAA is required to hire an approximately equal number of air traffic controllers from two pools of candidates.” These pools include those graduated from a CTI program, and eligible veterans. There is also a pool of individuals considered “off the street” hires. “The Hoeven/Shaheen ATC Hiring Reform Act of 2019 seeks to ensure that the most qualified individuals are entering the air traffic control workforce. The bill would do this by giving hiring preference to graduates of CTI schools and veterans.”
The bill has bipartisan sponsorship and was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
S.1245 —All-of-the-Above Federal Building Energy Conservation Act of 2019
Another bipartisan item, this bill was reintroduced on April 30 and seeks to “help the federal government improve energy efficiency, while providing flexibility in using efficient fuels, like natural gas, that would otherwise be phased out while enhancing federal building energy efficiency standards.”
Calling it a “win-win,” Senator Hoeven said of the legislation, it is ideal for “reducing costs and improving environmental stewardship. Burdensome one-size-fits-all rules aren’t realistic or cost-effective ways to improve energy efficiency. Our bill takes a common sense approach and provides federal building managers flexibility in sourcing energy so they can reduce energy consumption and cut down on costs.”
Supported by a long list of organizations, including “Alliance to Save Energy; Ameresco; American Gas Association; American Public Gas Association; American Public Power Association; Constellation New Energy, Inc.; Edison Electric Institute; Federal Performance; Contracting Coalition; Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association; Johnson Controls Inc.; Lockheed Martin; Noresco; Schneider Electric; Southland Energy; Trane; and UTC,” it was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
S.1326 —Chronic Wasting Disease Research Act
And yet further bipartisan legislation sponsored by the senator, this bill was introduced on May 6, and looks to “establish a chronic wasting disease research grant program.”
Chronic wasting disease is devastating to native deer populations and is a contagious, fatal neurological disease already appearing in both wild and captive deer populations in 26 states.
Speaking of the need for the legislation, Senator Hoeven said, “North Dakota has a rich outdoor heritage with many sportsmen participating in the annual deer hunt. Chronic Wasting Disease threatens deer populations in North Dakota and across the nation, however very little is known about this fatal disease. This legislation provides grants to help bolster research into prevention and management efforts to stop this very contagious disease from impacting not only our sportsmen by protecting deer in the wild, but also our deer farmers.”
If enacted, it would authorize “up to $15 million annually for chronic wasting disease research, such as:
- Detection and decontamination of disease in deer
- Long-term suppression and eradication of chronic wasting disease
- Determining markers for genetic resistance
Entities eligible for the research grants include universities, state and tribal departments of agriculture, research facilities conducting chronic wasting disease research, as well as tribal research facilities.”
With three other co-sponsors, the bill was read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.
It seems evident from the details evaluated above that Senator Hoeven is not acting under any undue influences from corporate or other significant backers. Though he is supportive of the oil industry, a cursory examination of his reasoning makes it clear that his goal is to support growth in North Dakota and not his bank account. He seems free of signs of influence in any other ways, as well.