(The Center Square) – North Dakota is in the best financial shape it has ever been, Gov. Doug Burgum said in his State of State address Tuesday.
North Dakota closed out its general fund biennium balance with a $1.49 billion surplus, he said.
“The state of our state – we’re underestimated – that’s the state of our state, ” Burgum said. “We are so good at so many things and we’ve never been stronger financially, economically, people-wise. We’ve never been stronger. We’re underestimated by people externally, and we have to change that…people underestimate how beautiful it is, they underestimate that we have great weather, they underestimate everything about us. We have to tell our story differently and better.”
North Dakota was named the best state for business friendliness by Forbes, according to Burgum, and is the best state to start a business, with three of every four startups succeeding.
“We have the best of America right here. We absolutely do,” Burgum said.
Energy is a large part of North Dakota’s story, he said.
“We have to tell our story. The oil industry today is so efficient, so effective and so safe and so smart, so environmentally friendly,” Burgum said. “Compared to any other nation, North Dakota does it better than anyone and we’re losing a battle perhaps nationally. “How can we have people in America who drive a car, heat their homes and turn on a switch, not know that we are the ones that are providing a big chunk of that? We are the number three oil-producing state.”
The governor said the state’s coal-fired electricity plants driving toward carbon sequestration and zero CO2 provide the base-load power that will help save the nation. Every other state is shutting down its base load prematurely at a time when the electricity demand “goes up and up and up,” according to Burgum.
“It won’t be because of this fantasy about electric cars. It will go up – demand for electricity- for everything else including demand for data services because all of the stuff that is coming with AI and the ability to transform every job, in every company, in every industry, through AI requires a lot of power to run those data centers” the governor said.
Biofuels in Dickerson, ethanol, hydro from Garrison Dam, the wind portfolio, all round off the “all-of-the-above” approach to energy in North Dakota.
“Some people when you say you’re an energy state- we’re the bad guys – ‘Oh you guys do fossil fuel? Eww, ick!’ It’s like oh no we’re actually helping stabilize the world so we don’t have to buy energy from Iran and Iraq, and Russia and Venezuela, you know, who then use that oil money to support terrorism. No, we’ve got to tell our story, here,” Burgum stated. “We are providing energy cheaper and cleaner than anyone else.”
Burgum announced Monday he will not seek a third term in office.