We write in support of the capacity expansion project for the Dakota Access Pipeline. The $40-million Dakota Access Pipeline Optimization plan will increase economic opportunities for North Dakotans while generating significant tax revenues that will give legislators the flexibility to address growing needs across the state.

Dakota Access Pipeline’s request to expand the capacity of the pipeline up to 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day to accommodate growing production in the Bakken is a welcomed development in our state. The Bakken region continues to be a major economic driver and an investment that is welcomed in North Dakota.

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Since Dakota Access came online, it has allowed the price discount of Bakken crude to be more competitive than other regions. This has made Bakken crude more recoverable because of that economic advantage. Doubling the pipeline’s throughput will reinvigorate the price discount benefits to land and royalty holders as well as benefit tax revenues across the state.

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The Dakota Access Pipeline has been a generous revenue generator for North Dakota by increasing tax revenues at the state and local level. It is estimated that since coming online, it has generated more than $263 million in tax revenue for our state. The optimization plan has the potential to add another $33 million more per year, which would give state leaders even more flexibility in identifying and supporting critical investments across the state in areas such as health care, education, transportation, and many others.

The optimization plan as a whole is a net positive for our state. These types of energy infrastructure projects, when done safely and in full compliance with federal, state and local laws, serve as economic drivers. North Dakota as a whole will benefit from this project and others like it by generating tax revenues to fund our priorities, like restoring infrastructure, investing in education and supporting the health care needs of our state’s vulnerable people.

Wardner, R-Dickinson, serves as Senate Majority Leader and Pollert, R-Carrington, N.D., serves as House Majority Leader in the North Dakota Legislature.