Hoeven Supports Legislation to Reauthorize BLM Permitting Program

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, who serves on the U.S. Senate Energy Committee, today announced that he is cosponsoring the Bureau of Land (BLM) Management Permit Processing Improvement Act.

The legislation, introduced by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), will continue the support of BLM Pilot Offices located in oil and gas producing states to expedite permitting for oil wells on public land. The senators’ bill also provides the Secretary of the Interior with flexibility to designate new project offices to serve areas with new oil production.

The pilot offices were established in 2005 to expedite permitting in the field, but the pilot program is scheduled to expire at the end of 2015. The senators’ legislation will extend the pilot program for 10 years, starting in 2016.

The legislation dovetails with the BLM Streamlining Act, legislation Hoeven introduced and the Senate passed in 2012. The House at that time failed to take up the bill, so Hoeven reintroduced it in the current session. The measure passed in the U.S. House and the Senate passed it again in December, making it law.

The BLM Streamlining Act expanded the service area of the Miles City, Montana office to include North Dakota. The office is now be able to process permits for North Dakota, which will help to address backlog and delays. Federal permits were taking up to nine months for approval. This legislation helped to cut red tape and made the federal permitting process more timely and efficient for North Dakota producers.

“Both of these bills are about cutting red tape and making the federal permitting process more timely and efficient,” said Hoeven. “With the pace of oil and gas development in North Dakota, we need field offices to help expedite the process and prevent delays that are costing us jobs and economic growth.”