Dakota Download Governor Burgum's Weekly Update - October 15, 2023

Burgum applauds DOE selecting Heartland Hydrogen Hub formed by governors of ND, MN, MT and WI

Funding could total up to $925M; Energy & Environmental Research Center at UND led development of application for Heartland Hydrogen Hub

Gov. Doug Burgum applauded the U.S. Department of Energy’s announcement that it has selected the Heartland Hydrogen Hub for up to $925 million in funding to advance a regional clean energy project involving collaboration among the states of North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin.

Governors of the four states signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in October 2022 to develop a regional clean hydrogen hub to help meet the nation’s clean energy, transportation and agricultural needs. The Heartland Hydrogen Hub will produce low-carbon hydrogen, decarbonize regional supply chains and create clean energy jobs across the states.

“Clean hydrogen can play a major role in our all-of-the-above energy approach, and we’re grateful to the Department of Energy for recognizing our states’ expertise in agriculture and energy production that will make the Heartland Hydrogen Hub a world-class partnership,” Burgum said. “North Dakota is already an energy and ag powerhouse, and we’re excited to build on our reputation as states that feed and fuel the world with environmental stewardship and a focus on innovation over regulation to meet our nation’s evolving energy needs.”

The University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC), Marathon Petroleum Corp., TC Energy and Xcel Energy are leading development of the Heartland Hydrogen Hub. Marathon and TC Energy also are engaged with the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation and Sumitomo Corp. of Americas to participate. Burgum signed an MOU with the president and CEO of Sumitomo Corp. during a trade and investment mission to Japan last year.

With the Heartland Hydrogen Hub, a variety of projects will produce clean hydrogen for delivery to multiple markets including industrial operations, fertilizer production, and natural gas blending for power generation and distribution, while reducing carbon emissions from multiple sectors by up to 1 million metric tons per year, according to EERC.

Under the MOU signed last year, the four states agreed to develop a proposal for the Heartland Hydrogen Hub with the goal of obtaining federal funding from the Department of Energy’s $7 billion program to create regional clean hydrogen across the country. The funding was part of a larger hydrogen hub program included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law approved by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden.

In addition to Burgum, the MOU was signed by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers. The hub may also include facilities in South Dakota. Throughout the application process, hub partners have engaged with communities, tribes and other stakeholders on strategies and programs that aim to benefit the entire region.

Miller thanks ND National Guard soldiers for service in send-off ceremony for 817th Engineer Company

Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller on Sunday thanked about 125 soldiers from the North Dakota National Guard's 817th Engineer Company for their service during a send-off ceremony as they prepare to deploy on a yearlong mission to assist Customs and Border Protection at the U.S.-Mexico border.

"North Dakota’s National Guard members have consistently proven that ours are among the best Guard units in the country. We have no doubt you will prove it again at the southern border, living up to your motto 'Always Ready, Always There,' " Miller said. "You have met all the challenges in front of you before, whether it was war in the Middle East, high waters at home, or a pandemic response – your legacy is one of agile, smart, and extraordinary men and women meeting the challenges of the world. On behalf of a grateful state, thank you for your willingness to serve. We pray for your safety and success as you deploy."

The Jamestown-based 817th Engineer Company is the fourth North Dakota National Guard unit to deploy to the southwest border in the last three years. Their deployment follows yearlong deployments by the 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment and the 957th Engineer Company’s Multi-Role Bridge Company. The 188th Engineer Company also served a 30-day deployment at the border in August in support of Operation Lone Star.

Burgum thanks Krabbenhoft for nearly four decades of service after DOCR director announces retirement

Gov. Burgum announced the retirement of North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DOCR) Director Dave Krabbenhoft, effective Dec. 31, thanking him for his innovative leadership and his nearly four decades of dedicated service to the State of North Dakota.

Krabbenhoft has served as director of DOCR since March 2021. He had served as interim director since August 2020 while also fulfilling his regular duties as DOCR director of administration, a position he had held since 2007. As DOCR director, Krabbenhoft oversees about 930 DOCR team members and a two-year budget of approximately $446 million. He has served state government since 1985, previously working for the State Auditor’s Office, Department of Public Instruction and Office of Management and Budget prior to joining DOCR.

“During his more than 20 years in corrections and nearly four decades of service to the state, Dave Krabbenhoft has devoted himself to giving North Dakotans the best possible opportunities for a bright future – including ensuring that those involved in the criminal justice system can rehabilitate themselves and become healthy, productive and safe neighbors,” Burgum said. “Dave has transformed lives and strengthened communities through his work at DOCR. We are deeply grateful for his service and wish him all the best in retirement.”

Under Krabbenhoft’s leadership both as DOCR director and as director of administration, the department implemented criminal justice reforms putting a greater emphasis on rehabilitation, as approximately 95% of DOCR residents will eventually be released. Those reforms included expanding mental health, addiction treatment and peer support services in DOCR facilities and communities; expanding access to education, vocational training and re-entry programs; implementing a pretrial services program and medication-assisted treatment into DOCR facilities; expanding the State Penitentiary and securing funding for a new women’s facility; and reforming prison culture, including working with the Restoring Promise initiative to open Unity Village, a housing unit at the State Penitentiary grounded in dignity and respect.

“As director of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, I have had the privilege of working with an exceptional team of professionals who are dedicated not only to the public safety of our communities but also to the rehabilitation of those involved in our correctional system. It has been an honor to lead and collaborate with such a committed group of people,” Krabbenhoft said. “I am sincerely grateful to Gov. Burgum for the opportunity to serve as DOCR director. I will leave with a deep sense of pride in the work that has been accomplished and the positive impact made to public safety.”

The DOCR director’s position is currently posted.

Burgum urges support for Israel after terrorist attack, connects with North Dakota group in Bethlehem

Gov. Burgum issued the following statement regarding last weekend’s attacks on Israel by Hamas terrorists. Burgum also connected via phone this week with Father Phil Ackerman of Holy Cross Catholic Church in West Fargo who was among a group of 84 North Dakotans in Bethlehem awaiting flights back to the United States. The group has since returned home.

“The attack by Hamas terrorists on Israel is reprehensible, and the fact it occurred on a Jewish holiday is despicable. We stand with our democratic ally Israel while lifting up in prayer the victims of these horrific attacks,” Burgum said. “We also pray for the safe return of the priests and parishioners from North Dakota congregations who are anxiously waiting to board flights home. Today we reached out to the U.S. State Department and spoke with Father Ackerman, offering to assist however possible to help ensure the safe return of those North Dakotans and all Americans wanting to return to U.S. soil.”

Gov. Doug Burgum also directed all government agencies to fly the United States and North Dakota flags at half-staff from sunrise Wednesday, Oct. 11, until sunset Friday, Oct. 13, as a mark of respect for the victims of the attacks on Israel by Hamas terrorists. The Governor’s Residence was also lit up in blue and white, the colors of the Israeli flag, to show support for the U.S. ally and its people.

Burgum to present Rough Rider Award to champion boxer Virgil Hill on Oct. 30 at Bismarck Event Center

Gov. Burgum announced details of a ceremony to honor celebrated professional boxer Virgil Hill as the 48th recipient of the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, the state’s highest commendation for its citizens.

The award ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. Oct. 30 in the main arena at the Bismarck Event Center, 315 S. 5th S., Bismarck, where Hill fought several memorable boxing matches. A reception will precede the ceremony at 5 p.m. at the Event Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Burgum announced Hill as the 48th recipient of the Rough Rider Award on Aug. 10. Raised in Grand Forks and Williston, Hill won a silver medal in the middleweight division during the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, was a five-time world champion, set the record for the number of light heavyweight title defenses and was a first-round inductee into both the National Boxing Hall of Fame and International Boxing Hall of Fame. He holds a career professional record of 50 wins, 7 losses, and 23 wins by knockout.

Beyond his boxing achievements, Hill has been actively engaged in charitable works, supporting organizations focused on youth sports development, anti-bullying campaigns, veterans' assistance and cultural preservation. Since his retirement from boxing in 2015, Hill has continued to train athletes and promote North Dakota, going out of his way to train young Native American athletes and provide opportunities for them to excel in their chosen sport.

The Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award recognizes present and former North Dakotans who have been influenced by the state in achieving national recognition in their fields of endeavor, thereby reflecting credit and honor upon North Dakota and its citizens. Established during the 1961 Dakota Territory Centennial, the award was initially given as an honorary rank of Colonel in the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Riders. North Dakota Secretary of State Michael Howe and State Historical Society Director Bill Peterson both concurred with Burgum’s selection of Hill for the Rough Rider Award.

Burgum issues statement on new ND Supreme Court opinion immediately voiding OMB bill

Gov. Burgum issued the following statement Thursday after the North Dakota Supreme Court issued an opinion making its previous opinion in Board of Trustees of the ND Public Employees Retirement System v. ND Legislative Assembly effective immediately. The court declared Senate Bill 2015, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) appropriations bill, void immediately.

“This latest Supreme Court opinion will accelerate the timeline for a special session of the Legislature. The Governor’s Office has been in contact with legislative leadership this evening and will continue to discuss next steps to address this matter as quickly as possible,” Burgum said. “We’re confident the Legislature can work through the reformatting and reauthorization of the OMB bill before Nov. 1 to avoid any interruptions to state government operations.”

A Sept. 28 opinion from the Supreme Court, and the case docket, indicated the Court’s initial opinion declaring SB 2015 unconstitutional and void would become effective Oct. 28. In Thursday’s opinion, the Supreme Court stated it had no authority to delay the judgment.