Hoeven Reintroduces Legislation to Improve Permitting Process for Energy Development

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven this week reintroduced the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Mineral Spacing Act, legislation to streamline and improve the permitting process for energy development. 

Currently, if the federal government owns any subsurface parcel of a spacing unit, an energy producer is required to receive a federal BLM drilling permit in addition to receiving all the necessary permits from the state or other relevant authorities. The BLM Mineral Spacing Act lifts the requirement for a federal permit when less than 50 percent of subsurface minerals are owned or held in trust by the federal government and there is no federal surface land.  

“This legislation is all about ensuring that we have common-sense regulations in place for our energy producers,” said Hoeven. “The BLM Mineral Spacing Act would improve the permitting process where the federal government is a minority mineral owner. Our legislation gives control back to the majority mineral owners and enables the BLM to better utilize its resources.”

Specifically, the legislation:

  • Removes the BLM permitting requirement in instances when:
    • Less than half of the subsurface minerals within a drilling spacing unit are owned by the federal government.
    • The federal government does not own or lease any surface rights within a drilling spacing unit.
  • Allows the federal government to receive royalties from energy production within the particular drilling or spacing unit.
  • Subjects energy producers to all state laws, regulations and guidance governing energy activity in each relevant jurisdiction.