As President Donald Trump's cabinet takes shape, state energy leaders are feeling hopeful about the next four years.
In tonight's Eye on Energy, Tim Olson tells us how federal energy policy could change in the Trump era.
(Tim Olson, KX News) On Friday, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Scott Pruitt as the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency - a move that signals a sea change for the federal government's approach to oil and gas.
And if you ask two of the state's top energy leaders, they'll tell you it's a change for the better.
(Ron Ness, President - N.D. Petroleum Council) "For the last 18 months at least, we have woken up every day with the federal government, led by the EPA, really fighting against us."
(Lynn Helms, Director - Dept. of Mineral Resources) "He's been characterized as overly industry-friendly. I don't believe that's the case. He just takes into account the impacts on industry and economics of potential rule changes."
(Olson) Rule changes like the proposed Clean Power Plan - which, according to Lynn Helms, would require the energy industry to reduce carbon emissions by 45 percent over several years.
(Helms) "That's beyond challenging and completely impossible. And we think Mr. Pruitt, as administrator, is going to roll that back."
(Olson) Prior to the 2016 Election, President Trump promised to eliminate the Clean Power Plan.
Helms says he also hopes that action will soon be taken on a federal rule regarding the venting and flaring of natural gas - a rule that he says would give the federal Bureau of Land Management, or BLM, undue power in the state.
(Helms) "It would give BLM the power to restrict production on state and private wells."
(Olson) Earlier this month, the House of Representatives voted to cancel that rule. The Senate could vote to do the same as early as this week.
Ron Ness says if those federal rollbacks move forward, he believes better days are ahead for North Dakota's economy.
(Ness) "When you look into Dickinson and Watford City and Williston and across the state - it makes a big difference."
With your Eye on Energy, Tim Olson, KX News.
Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp both voted to confirm Pruitt as the head of the EPA.