Hoeven Pressing Biden Administration to Hold Oil & Gas Lease Sales

Senator Calls on Interior Secretary Haaland to Comply with Federal Court Order, Hold Quarterly Lease Sales in North Dakota as Required by Law

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today continued his efforts to push back on the Biden administration’s harmful policies, which are undermining domestic U.S. energy production and resulting in higher prices for American consumers. At a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Hoeven pressed Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to stop blocking oil and gas production on federal lands and: 

  • Called on Haaland to comply with a recent federal district court ruling that ordered the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to resume quarterly oil and gas lease sales for federal lands in North Dakota.
    • Despite the ruling requiring BLM to release, within two weeks, a schedule of quarterly lease sales for 2023, the agency has yet to commit to holding any lease sales in North Dakota, having only released an anticipated lease sale for June 2023.
  • Pushed back on BLM’s proposed overhaul of public lands management, which would lock away federal lands in conservation leases and disregard the longstanding multiple use requirements established by Congress, including for energy development.
    • Hoeven is submitting language to the Interior Appropriations Bill prohibiting the use of funds to further develop, implement or enforce the rule, and will lead a Congressional comment letter opposing the rule and pressing for it to be rescinded.

“More supply is the answer to rising energy costs, but due to the Biden administration’s harmful policies, U.S. oil production overall remains down, with North Dakota oil production having decreased by nearly half a million barrels per day,” said Hoeven. “President Biden wants to cherry pick data and take credit for leases and permits approved under the Trump administration, but the reality is that his administration’s policies, along with lawsuits from his environmentalist allies, are resulting in higher prices for American consumers. That’s why we are pushing back on federal overreaches, like the severe restrictions on oil, gas and coal leasing and permitting, and will continue pressing Secretary Haaland and other administration officials to comply with the law, hold the required lease sales and take the handcuffs off U.S. energy production.”

The proposed overhaul of public lands management comes as the latest of the Biden administration’s efforts to curtail U.S. oil, gas and coal development. Last year, the Department of the Interior (DOI) significantly reduced access to federal oil and gas reserves, only allowing 20 percent of available acreage for oil and gas leasing, while also raising production fees on the lands by 50 percent. This follows the administration issuing a moratorium on permitting for oil, natural gas and coal development on federal lands.

In response, Hoeven has repeatedly pressed the Biden administration, including Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Secretary Haaland, to rescind policies like these. The senator is also:

  • Sponsoring legislation, like his BLM Mineral Spacing Act, to provide regulatory relief and streamline the permitting process for energy development on federal lands. The bill removes the BLM permitting requirement when the federal government:
    • Owns less than half of the mineral rights in a drilling spacing unit.
    • Has no surface rights in the impacted area.
    • Doing so would remove duplicative regulations and better respect the rights of private mineral holders. 
  • Working to advance legislation that:
    • Prohibits any presidential moratoria on new energy leases.
    • Requires DOI to hold lease sales in each state with available land.