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Judge denies North Dakota’s federal oil leasing request

Oil wells
Oil wells(KFYR)
Published: Jan. 15, 2022 at 11:21 AM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A judge has denied North Dakota’s request for an order forcing the federal government to hold oil lease sales. The Bureau of Land Management is planning to hold such a sale in the first quarter of 2022 after canceling all sales last year.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Traynor ruled against the state Friday in part because a U.S. Justice Department attorney has offered an assurance that the bureau plans to hold the sale imminently. Traynor wrote in his order that he agreed with the federal government’s assessment that the state had made “a premature request.”

The dispute arose after President Joe Biden early last year issued an executive order pausing oil leasing on federal lands while a review of the leasing program could take place.

A number of oil and gas producing states sued the federal government to try to force lease sales to resume. They scored an early victory in June 2021 when a federal judge in Louisiana issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the federal government from enforcing the president’s pause.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem filed a separate suit to force the federal government to hold the lease sales canceled in the state during 2021, along with future sales.

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