Lt. Governor Brent Sanford discusses the WH infrastructure summit
(Please note - this transcript was copied from an electronic captioning service. We apologize for any errors, spelling, grammatical, or otherwise.)
Politics out of infrastructure because great infrastructure is good for everybody in America.
That's governor Doug Burgum earlier today right in front of the White House after the infrastructure summit with President Trump. Vice president mike Pence, other governors. Also county commissioners, as well as other mayors. We're also going to talk about the soap opera in the DC swamp. That will be in the next segment of the show. Good evening and welcome to "Point of View. " I'm Chris Berg. Thank you for joining us. Joining us right now live from Washington, D. C. to tell us what happened in the infrastructure summit is our great lieutenant governor, Brent Sanford. Lieutenant governor, great to have you back on "Point of View" and great to see you, sir. So kind of give us the mood of the room, if you will. Obviously we had the soap opera hovering over DC today. What was the mood in the room and also who were the other governors and elected leaders that were with you, sir?
Focus was very much on infrastructure solutions today, Chris. It was a great day. All about innovation, not regulation. It was something where the governor got to really ring a bell for all the points that we're worried about and concerned about in North Dakota, as well as nationwide. And there are other really high profile governors there, like governor Scott from Florida, governor Brownback from Kansas, that gave some really good speeches. Governor from New Hampshire. We had some excellent conversation breakouts in energy, in transportation, in transformative infrastructure, in rural development, and also in permitting and regulating with secretary from Montana, which I was able to take part in. It was really go breakout sessions. Individual conversations and presentations from vice president Pence, as well as President Trump, of course. It was a great day for us. Got our word out. Governor Burgum got a lot of time on the national stage. Asked to people speak with the group that was speaking to the president addressing the high points from the breakouts, as well as being asked to do the press conference afterwards. So we had quite a really good day for North Dakota and the United States.
You had to pick one or two things, what was the single thing that came out that will have a positive impact on our state?
One of the biggest is they would like to limit the duplication between federal agencies on major infrastructure projects. For example, some projects we had in the last highway 85 or water projects or bridges over the Missouri river or eastern projects like river valley water supply, you're looking at six, seven, eight environmental impact statements from different federal agencies. Secretary ZINKE would like to get to one. That would be an incredible. Have one have primacy. That was an innovative idea from his part. That would eliminate a lot of that extra time of the for example on highway 85 project in the west we're looking at nine months. If we had turn lanes from a state project level. Ten years if it's a federal project. So secretary ZINKE now is a very innovative person looking at really trimming down the time, common sense, lack of regulation. All innovation and common expense getting the red tape out of it. It was exciting for all of us.
Yesterday President Trump was in Ohio. He brought up the Dakota Access Pipeline and as you know, there was some American leaders in the room today as well. One of the things under the Obama administration that was discussed that say we want to change some of the consultation process when it comes to sovereign nations such as tribal nations. One, did DAPL come up at all today in this conversation? Infrastructure. Two, was there any conversation about how do we address and maybe improve our communications and consultations with native American nations?
Vice chairman Randy Phelen was there. My neighbors from the west and vice chairman Phelen gave very good input to the group. His concerns were as a federal partner, based on BLM land, federal land. The permitting is much delayed compared to on private land. You're looking at days, less than a month it you're an private mineral, private land. You're talking almost a year to permit a well if you're on tribal land. Worse yet, 630 days if you're on federal land that are non-reservation. So he brought up that fact. It was earth shattering to the folks in the room. They knew they were talking about a lot of red tape from bureaucratic side, from the federal government level. But they didn't think it was to that extreme. But then secretary ZINKE jumped in after my conversation with him and the group and after vice chairman Phelan and said our revenue has gone from 18 billion to 2 billion over the last ten years, over the last actually eight years. Go figure, within the last administration on revenue from offshore drilling leases on the federal government side. So the federal government was brought an income solution as well from us in the west today. So we'll see if they follow through. See if they can limit some permitting on their own land as well, as well as ours.
So talk to us more about that. It sounds like South Dakota is in the position to lead from an innovative. He talked about the permitting land. What talking -- what are you talking about specifically?
Exactly. We're preaching all of the above energy focus that we have in North Dakota. Whether it's wind, whether it's coal, whether it's oil and gas. And in talking about the problems that we have when it's on federal land versus private land. You look at the fact there is no wind farms on the reservations. There is wind farms on private land. It's outside of the federal land. It's outside of reservation lands. So why is that? If you look at a map of the bacon, you look at where the oil production is, it's a checker board of federal lands that's in the Bakken and very few wells in those areas. There is plenty in the private areas. So it's kinds of an eye open to the federal government. It's something that representative Cramer speaks of often. Basically it looks like our federal government doesn't like income from land opportunities like we have. Something that I think it really was brought home by secretary ZINKE. I think they were really listening. There was a person in the room on the actual energy breakout session. He was taking note as well. 6 We'll see. If something or I believe North Dakota can lead in innovation, especially in the energy area and AG areas and we are definitely -- we have a committed cabinet, very committed to energy, agriculture, technology, getting the red tape out of it and let's let people get to work.
So speaking about commitment, I think something that's very important to the people here in the river valley specifically in Fargo is the FM diversion project. Did that project come up specifically and if so, what was the conversation like?
Absolutely. The governor was able to bring up that project and talk about the delays, talk about the level of priority. Even given the facts that a majority of the project be paid for by local taxpayers. And by the state, that there is still federal bureaucracy weighing it down. His points is if they're that much local commitment, why not move it up the priority chain? Shouldn't that be one of the indicators that pushes it higher on the priority level? It shouldn't be equally weighed against something that's 100% federal funding. Even the president agreed. It was something the governor did have time to bring it up with everyone in the room. He did a good job of explaining the situation at hand.
Even though with the possible, with the lawsuit taking place and the situation in Minnesota, do you still feel 7 they may move that up on the priority list because there is more investment from the locals?
We hope so. There is a lot of head nodding. I can tell you, the cabinet was all on the same page. They're all very much common sense about local control, about letting the decisions be made at the local level. Just having the federal government being there for quality control and overall rules, governor Scott from Florida said just give us the guidelines and then turn us loose. It's something where we don't need to have you involved in every step of the way. I think that we had a lot of head nodding from the cabinet. Officials that were there today. Very exciting. Exciting opportunity for the country.
Lieutenant governor, I got two more things quickly and a limited amount of time. As you know, you were part of this energy breakout session. President Trump took a lot of heat for pulling us out of the Paris accord. Did any conversation come up about climate change from an energy standpoint and did you give any input about some of the carbon capture, any ideas about here is what we can do to generate energy in a responsible way?
Thanks for prepping me on that. Absolutely. That recovery came up numerous times. I can also tell you that the governor from Mississippi kept bringing up the fact that hey, you know what? We love our environment more than you do. We live there. This is something where we care about our water and wetlands and wildlife. You just need to get out of the way and let us do responsibility. That was a common theme. This is our lands. We live there. Don't think that you know better than us. It was something that was well received by the cabinet.
Lieutenant governor, last question. You're sticking around in DC I think for at least another day or so to have some other meetings. If you can share who are you meeting with and what are you hoping to accomplish in this trip?
National manufacturing group. We've got a higher Ed group. We've got going to check out the -- what happens with our international guard when the detachment is sent here to Washington, D. C It's going to be a good day tomorrow as well. I have an extra day. Look forward to taking advantage of it tomorrow.
Lieutenant governor, presents Sanford, we appreciate your time. Thank you for taking the time to come in and visit with us and enjoy the rest of your time in the DC swamp.
Thanks, Chris. Great being in the swamp.
We'll see you again soon, my friend. Enjoy. Speaking about the DC swamp, I'm sure you saw the soap opera, at least parts that were taking place today. It was one thing to have former director, F. B. I. director Jim Comey testify, then to have Donald Trump's attorney show up. Wait 'til you hear his statement. I'm going to break it down for you right after this. Love to get your point of view. We heard from lieutenant governor Brent Sanford. Head to our web site. You can text us, e-mail us, leave us a voicemail.