North Dakota officials react to resumption of federal drilling leases

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Oil wells(KFYR)
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 3:13 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - North Dakota officials are reacting to the announcement on Friday that the Biden Administration is resuming limited federal drilling leases on public lands.

This will be the first time new leasing will be available since President Biden took office and 10 months after a Louisiana District Judge blocked his moratorium on lease sales. North Dakota officials, however, are disappointed that only a fraction of eligible acres will be offered.

“It’s one step forward and four steps backwards in terms of their real desire to increase production of energy in the country via using federal leases, which we all know, is very important to energy production,” said Ron Ness, North Dakota Petroleum Council President.

Only 173 parcels on roughly 144,000 acres will be leased out of the 646 parcels on 733,000 acres nominated by the Bureau of Land Management, an 80-percent reduction.

In addition, the Department of the Interior will be increasing the royalty rate for new leases from 12.5% to 18.75%.

“While we appreciate the Biden administration finally meeting its legal obligation to auction oil leases on federal land, now is not the time for baby steps. Instead of leasing only a fraction of the available acres and disincentivizing drilling by charging higher royalties to pay for federal largesse, the administration should remove roadblocks and fully unleash U.S. energy production,” said Governor Doug Burgum (R-ND).

“Once again, this shows that the Biden administration is taking the wrong approach to energy development. We need to produce more energy here at home to reduce inflation and help our allies. We will continue pushing the administration to take the handcuffs off American energy producers to unleash the full potential of our abundant taxpayer-owned energy reserves,” said Senator John Hoeven (R-ND).

“It’s about time the Biden Administration took this small first step opened up federal lands to oil and gas development as it’s mandated in statute, but this action alone won’t solve anything. Their rhetoric, nominees, and nearly every federal agency are working to choke off funding and regulate fossil fuels out of existence. Just look at the announcement itself: far less acreage is up for auction and the royalty rate is hiked. Now they need to approve all applications for permits to drill providing jobs for America’s workers and creating American energy,” said Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND).

“The Biden administration has done everything it can to hamstring American energy production. While it is the right step to hold congressionally mandated lease sales, the administration is offering only a fraction of the acres needed to restore American energy dominance, and at a far higher cost to producers than before. We need less barriers, not more, to achieve energy independence again,” said Representative Kelly Armstrong (R-ND).

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