Congress Passes New Bill that Builds on Hoeven's BLM Streamlining Act

Measure Makes Montana-Dakota BLM Pilot Permitting Office Permanent

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, who serves on the U.S. Senate Energy Committee, today announced that the Senate has passed a bill he cosponsored to make the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) pilot permitting office in Sydney, Montana permanent. Hoeven backed the BLM Management Permit Processing Improvement Act, introduced by Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), to ensure the ongoing operation of the Montana-Dakota office and to better manage oil and gas permitting in North Dakota and other western states.

The new measure builds on the BLM Streamlining Act, legislation that Hoeven authored and got passed in the Senate in 2012. The House at that time failed to take up the bill, so Hoeven reintroduced it in the current session. The measure passed in the U.S. House, and the Senate passed it again in December, making it law.

The BLM Streamlining Act expanded the service area of the Miles City, Montana office to include North Dakota. The office is now able to process permits for North Dakota, which will help to address backlogs and delays. Federal permits were taking up to nine months for approval. Hoeven’s BLM Streamlining Act helped to cut red tape and made the federal permitting process more timely and efficient for North Dakota producers.

“This bill is important because it not only helps producers to get drilling permits in a timely manner, but also because it helps get approvals to site gas gathering systems and pipelines so that we can reduce flaring in the Bakken,” Hoeven said.

The BLM established pilot offices in 2005 to expedite permitting in the field, but the program was scheduled to expire at the end of 2015. The legislation will extend the program for 10 years, starting in 2016.