Up against a Dec. 30 deadline to finish spending the pandemic stimulus money it got from the federal CARES Act, North Dakota plans to give $16 million in grant to oil companies for fracking. An all-Republican state energy commission voted last week to reallocate the funds, and lawmakers will cast a final vote on it this week. The Forum reports that critics are aghast, calling it a gift to the oil business.
“This money is supposed to help North Dakotans recover from the pandemic and support working families, not serve as another handout to an industry that is already at full workforce,” Sen. Tim Mathern said in a statement. “This is more of the same insider spending that gave us the world-leading COVID-19 outbreak. It’s a misuse of taxpayer dollars in the middle of a crisis.” The vote comes as North Dakota sets records for new COVID-19 cases.