Hoeven: Energy Committee Passes Legislation to Streamline Processing of Federal Oil and Gas Permits in ND

Legislation is One Step Closer to Becoming Law

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Senate Energy Committee has approved the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Streamlining Act, legislation he introduced, along with Senator Heidi Heitkamp, 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 its way for 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. 

“Approval by the Senate Energy Committee is a good step forward for our legislation,” said Hoeven. “We will now work to ensure this important bill passes the full Senate because it provides a common sense solution to help with delays and backlogs in the federal permitting process in western North Dakota. Oil permitting takes about 180 to 270 days on federal lands in North Dakota, compared to only about ten days on private lands. This bill will provide more certainty and improve the efficiency of the permitting process to help us create jobs and opportunities for our people.” 

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. 

Hoeven introduced the same bill last year, and it was passed by the Senate. The House of Representatives did not pass the bill in the 112th Congress, but Hoeven is working with Congressman Kevin Cramer to ensure passage through the House as well this session.