North Dakota leaders weigh in amid state lawsuit on Biden Admin

K. William Boyer
Devils Lake Journal

NORTH DAKOTA - Last week, North Dakota sued the Federal government, saying the BLM has unlawfully canceled the regularly scheduled auctions of oil & gas leases of public mineral rights in North Dakota that BLM is required by federal law to hold. 

North Dakota's Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said he took this action to  protect North Dakota’s economy, the jobs of our hard-working citizens, and North Dakota’s rights to control its own natural resources. Stenehjem said that without following the legally required procedures, BLM canceled the March and June lease auctions. 

North Dakota's Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said he took this action to  protect North Dakota’s economy, the jobs of our hard-working citizens, and North Dakota’s rights to control its own natural resources. Stenehjem said that without following the legally required procedures, BLM canceled the March and June lease auctions.

"Due to North Dakota’s unique “split estate” land and mineral rights structure, BLM’s illegal actions have disrupted the State’s programs for efficiently managing the State’s resources and are blocking the development of significant State and private mineral interests,"  Stenehjem said. 

According to the attorney general, the cancellation of the auctions will cost the State over $80 million in lost revenues, and could continue to grow to into billions in the coming months.

North Dakota State Senator Kevin Cramer applauded Stenehjam, saying that President Biden’s moratorium on oil and gas leasing on public lands is illegal. 

"It increases federal and state budget shortfalls, hampers state and private mineral owners’ rights, and makes the United States less energy independent and more reliant on foreign producers who are not all good actors like Russia, Saudi Arabia, or Venezuela," Cramer said.  

"It increases federal and state budget shortfalls, hampers state and private mineral owners’ rights, and makes the United States less energy independent and more reliant on foreign producers who are not all good actors like Russia, Saudi Arabia, or Venezuela," Cramer said.

Senator John Hoevan said the administration’s, "moratorium on new oil and gas leases creates uncertainty for our energy producers and unnecessarily burdens our nation, increasing our reliance on foreign energy imports from countries with lower environmental standards." 

Governor Doug Burgum, who in February along with 16 fellow governors signed a letter to President Biden asking him to withdraw Executive Order 14008, issued on Jan. 27, 2021, which banned new oil and gas development on federal land and in offshore waters, said that rather than working with states on forward-looking innovation and solutions for carbon management, this unlawful ban is a  regulation that threatens to further drive up the price at the pump and deny hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue to the schools, communities and state. 

“North Dakota has a robust energy industry and some of the cleanest air and water in the nation because we have developed our resources responsibly with an all-of-the-above energy approach," Burgum said "This misguided ban hurts hardworking Americans, puts our energy security at risk and fails to solve the problem for the environment. It’s bad for the country, and we will continue to oppose it as we fully support the attorney general’s actions.”

“North Dakota has a robust energy industry and some of the cleanest air and water in the nation because we have developed our resources responsibly with an all-of-the-above energy approach," Burgum said "This misguided ban hurts hardworking Americans, puts our energy security at risk and fails to solve the problem for the environment. It’s bad for the country, and we will continue to oppose it as we fully support the attorney general’s actions.”

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