Governor Burgum Should Pursue Oil & Gas Audit

Here is one of the many action items I want to hear in Governor Burgum’s address to the 65th Legislative Session:

“As I said I’d do in my campaign to become the Governor of the Great State of North Dakota, I will support a full performance audit of the Oil and Gas Division of the Department of Mineral Resources. Transparency is good in the public businesses I’ve owned and operated. It is also vital to good, efficient government.”

During his contentious primary campaign for the Republican nomination to become Governor, Doug Burgum said he would support a full performance audit of the Department of Mineral Resources specifically in the Oil and Gas Division. This pledge was made after one of his opponents for the Republican nomination, Paul Sorum, and Democratic-NPL nominee, Marvin Nelson, made accusations that oil production numbers were not being verified and potentially hundreds of millions of dollars not being reported by the oil industry in ND.

Of course, this isn’t the first time an audit has been pushed by officials in North Dakota. The House Minority Leader in 2015, Kenton Onstad, introduced House Bill 1259. “A BILL…providing for performance audits of the oil and gas division of the industrial commission and the state department of health.” That bill was defeated in the Republican controlled House by a vote of 67-22 on near party lines. Shocking. We should be asking why they refuse to perform this audit. Is there potentially something certain individuals don’t want the public to know?

Take a listen to Burgum’s answer during an interview with KFGO’s News and Views with Joel Heitkamp on June 9th when asked if he’d support a full audit of the oil and gas division. It seems pretty clear Burgum believes a full audit is in the best interest of the public and North Dakota taxpayers.


Now that Burgum is Governor, will he uphold his word and push for good government or shrink in the presence of the power brokers in Bismarck? You know, the “Good Ol’ Boys network” he demonized while chasing the Republican nomination.

A performance audit to ensure the integrity of our agencies and institutions is good government. It shows where to improve and where to eliminate inefficiencies. While the state’s budget has slumped due to commodity prices and poor decision making in the legislature, now is the time to dig deep into our agencies.

Candidate Burgum suggested people should be asking for those audits. Well Governor Burgum, we’re asking for that audit.

Tyler Axness
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