Hoeven Outlines Progress on North Dakota's Priorities with Interior Secretary

Senator Thanks Secretary Bernhardt for His Support on FWS Appeals Process, TRNP Maintenance, USGS Study & Oakes Test Site Transfer

WASHINGTON – At a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee this week, Senator John Hoeven discussed with Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt their shared efforts to advance North Dakota’s priorities, thanking the secretary for working with him to address a wide range of issues, including:

  • Providing an appeals process for landowners impacted by the wetlands easements under the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).
    • Hoeven, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, similarly worked to protect private property rights and provide relief in the 2018 Farm Bill from wetlands regulations at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
  • Ensuring timely repair of the scenic loop in Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP) moves forward.
    • The senator also helped secure ENR committee approval of the Restore Our Parks Act, bipartisan legislation he helped introduce to address deferred maintenance at National Park Service (NPS) facilities.
  • Conducting an updated U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimate of the oil and gas resources in the Williston Basin.
    • Hoeven secured a commitment for a new estimate in 2017, while hosting the USGS Acting Director in the state to press the need for a study that reflects the latest technology and includes all formations within the Williston Basin.
  • Reaching an agreement in principle on transferring the Oakes Test Site from the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to the Dickey-Sargent Irrigation District.
    • The senator has continuously worked with BOR Great Plains Regional Director Mike Black to advance the transfer and ensure it continues to benefit farmers in the region.

“Secretary Bernhardt has been a great partner in helping address the needs and priorities of North Dakotans, and by working together, we’ve delivered real results,” said Hoeven. “This includes an appeals process for FWS wetlands determinations and a solution to restore access to the TRNP scenic loop. Further, we secured a new survey of the recoverable oil and gas in the Williston formation and an agreement in principle to transfer ownership of the Oakes Test Site, so it can continue to be used for irrigation in the region. We appreciate the secretary’s time and attention to these matters, as well as his visit to our state, which allowed him to hear directly from our residents.” 

Through his role on the ENR Committee, Hoeven has worked with Bernhardt since his confirmation process to advance the above efforts. Further, Hoeven, along with Senator Kevin Cramer, hosted Bernhardt in the state last year so he could learn about these priorities firsthand.