Methane and Methane accessories

Making waves of the lightly-repackaged pre-meeting press release kind is this: At the Industrial Commission meeting on Monday a startup called N-Flex will ask for $1 million of your hard-drilled tax dollars to operate a mobile Haber process rig.  (I’d post the agenda for the meeting, but that’s not online.  I can’t find a website for N-Flex, either, but it is mentioned on Neil Cohn’s LinkedIn).

Essentially, the plan is to take a very small portion of the wasted natural gas from North Dakota’s oilfields (much to most of it is simply burned off like it’s useless) and turn it into farm-worthy ammonia fertilizer for sale at a competitive price.

The Lynn Helms quote in the KFYR story is priceless‘Maybe someday we’ll make everyone stop wasting the obscene amount of much natural gas we currently allow them to.’  If I had it in my power, I’d throw money at something, anything to capture the wasted natural gas from these rigs.  Assuming that that position was also not empowered to order the rigs to shape up and actually capture or pipe out all the gas that is safely possible to capture.

So for once, I’m not going to fault the Industrial Commission for rubber-stamping this one.   But it would be nice if the state made sure it was a loan or equity investment, something that might get a return.

RIP Mitt Romney

I guess the strategy is time-honoured, pick a VP that plays to your weaknesses and delivers a swing state. Ryan is a choice that will sate the conservative base and maybe move Wisconsin into the other column.

For the fabulously wealthy Mitt to prattle on about how he deserves to pay less taxes than Americans without tax shelters, and then bring aboard the poster boy for shuttering key government support programs, it begs the question: Is this GOP ticket a team that even remotely cares about any family’s survival and success? Is this a team that will protect senior citizens, or do they just want to feed everyone’s retirement funds to Wall Street?

Under the microscope

North Dakota being what it is, a competitive Senate race in a small voter pool, has attracted not just national campaign cash, but national media attention.  When the media isn’t cheerleading the mosquitoes in the west, they’re often taken with the folksiness of North Dakota politics.  Though it leans a bit into both of those trends, Gail Collins’ recent column in the New York Times is an adequate introduction to race for the uninitiated.