Hoeven: President Signs Bipartisan Lands Package into Law

Senator Worked to Include Provisions to Help Advance Title Transfer for Oakes Test Area, Expand North Country Scenic Trail

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven released the following statement today after President Donald J. Trump signed into law bipartisan legislation to improve federal and state public lands management, transfer lands to state and local control to support economic development and increase access to outdoor recreation, including hunting and fishing. As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee, Hoeven worked to ensure the bill included the following priorities for North Dakota:

  • The legislation streamlines the process for transferring titles from the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to local authorities. This aligns with legislation Hoeven introduced to transfer the title for the Oakes Test Area to the Dickey-Sargent Irrigation District. The legislation signed into law today removes the need for congressional authorization prior to transferring the title of a BOR project facility. Hoeven recently held a roundtable with local officials to discuss the transfer and has also pressed BOR officials to account for the depreciated value of the Oakes Test Area when providing a cost estimate for the irrigation district. 
  • The bill includes legislation Hoeven introduced with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to improve and expand the North Country Scenic Trail, which currently runs from New York to North Dakota. 

“The President has now signed into law bipartisan legislation that not only benefits sportsmen and local economic development but also advances important North Dakota priorities,” said Hoeven. “That includes helping to transfer the Oakes Test Area to Dickey-Sargent Irrigation District. It also includes legislation I worked on to bolster the North Country Scenic Trail to promote tourism and help improve access to natural landscapes in North Dakota and the northern U.S.”

In addition to the priorities above, the legislation signed into law today:

  • Increases access for sportsmen on federal lands.
  • Reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and strengthens its support for state-led outdoor recreation and conservation efforts.
  • Supports state and local economic development through land exchanges and conveyances.