Hoeven Calls Bakken Federal Executives Group Meeting a Step in Speeding Federal Energy Permitting

Senator Continues to Press for Passage of BLM Streamlining Act

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today said a meeting of the Bakken Federal Executives Group is a step forward in finding ways to improve federal energy permitting in the Bakken region. Today’s congressional participation in the group resulted from an exchange between Hoeven and President Obama during a working dinner-meeting earlier this spring. Hoeven pressed the President to improve the federal permitting process in the Bakken, which currently can take up to nine months. Following that exchange, Hoeven’s staff has been meeting with administration officials to find ways, like today’s Bakken Group meeting, to improve the permitting process and reduce flaring in the region.

“We have been working to streamline the permitting process on federal lands and to reduce flaring in the Bakken,” Hoeven said. “The administration approached us about working together to address both of these issues. Today’s meeting is a step toward getting all of the shareholders together. At the same time, our BLM Streamlining Act, which will enable the BLM office in Miles City, Montana to approve permits in western North Dakota, has passed the Senate Energy Committee. The House has passed a version of its own, and we’ll work to reconcile the two and pass it in Congress.”

Hoeven authored the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Streamlining Act, which Senator Heidi Heitkamp has cosponsored, to help streamline oil and gas permitting on federal lands in western North Dakota. As a member of the Energy Committee, Hoeven worked to pass the legislation through the committee, clearing the way for its consideration by the full Senate.

The BLM Streamlining Act expands the service area of the Miles City, Mont. office to include North Dakota and changes it to the Montana/Dakotas State Office. This will allow the office to process permits for North Dakota, expediting approvals, which currently take up to nine months.

The BLM field office in Miles City is part of the Federal Permit Streamlining Pilot Project, established in 2005, and designed to improve the coordination of oil and gas permitting on federal lands. This legislation would enable North Dakota to be part of the pilot project under the newly named Montana/Dakotas State Office. Pilot offices are charged with finding innovative ways to coordinate permitting to ensure efficient development with good environmental stewardship.