Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., was the keynote speaker at Thursday's annual meeting of the Minot Area Development Corp. A capacity crowd filled the ballroom at Minot's Grand Hotel for the event.
In his remarks Hoeven spoke of the importance of North Dakota's agriculture, energy development and Minot's recovery from the historic flood of 2011. One item of particular importance to Hoeven was hydraulic fracturing, a process of injecting liquid deep underground to open cracks in shale formations containing oil.
"Hydraulic fracturing is the key to unlocking the energy," said Hoeven. "We're doing it with better environmental stewardship."
Long-time Minot banker Jack Hoeven, a former Marine, was presented with a Marine Corps flag. At the left is his son, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.
In referencing the Bakken oil field boom in western North Dakota and Canada, Hoeven stressed that there are potential improvements in oil drilling technology that could unlock additional oil reserves. When that occurs, said Hoeven, the United States could achieve energy independence and therefore be removed from the influences of Mideast oil.
It is estimated that current drilling technology is able to retrieve less than two percent of recoverable oil.
"Imagine if we double that and go to four percent," said Hoeven. "Then what if we double it again?"
Hoeven called recovering North Dakota's vast oil reserves a "a national security issue."
When telling MADC members about Minot's growth and expansion, Hoeven said, "Obviously the next step is uncharted territory. This is not the time to rest on your laurels."
To date more than $652 million of federal program money has been designated for Minot's flood recovery effort. Some of the programs require state and city support.
In regard to agriculture, which Hoeven cited as an important pillar of Minot's growth, the senator explained he has been working to pass a long-term farm bill that will support the state's farmers and ranchers. Hoeven was recently named to the conference committee responsible for negotiating an agreement on the 2013 farm bill that was recently passed by the Senate.
Jerry Chavez, MADC president, thanked past board members for their contributions and introduced new board members to the audience. Then Chavez unveiled a surprise for long-time resident Jack Hoeven, chairman of First Western Bank.
"Jack Hoeven's financial resources and business acumen has made a significant impact in the local community, providing a standard for others to emulate," said Chavez.
With that, Chavez called a reluctant Jack Hoeven to come forward to accept a gift from a grateful MADC. A covering was removed from an easel to reveal at Marine Corps flag that had previously flown over Camp Pendleton, California. Hoeven is a former Marine.
"Semper Fi," said Hoeven when acknowledging the presentation.
Semper Fi, short for the Latin phrase Semper Fidelis, is the motto of the Marine Corps. It means "always faithful" or "always loyal."
The large crowd responded with a lengthy standing ovation.
A analysis report of MADC strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats was available for attendees. The report stressed the need for a strategic visioning process for the City of Minot and MADC. Otherwise, stated the report, the city will grow in a spontaneous, disorganized manner.