Legislation would streamline oil, gas permits on fed lands

Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp introduced legislation Thursday to help streamline oil and gas permitting on federal lands in western North Dakota.

The Bureau of Land Management Streamlining Act expands the service area of the Miles City, Mont., office to include North Dakota and changes it to the Montana/Dakotas State Office. This will allow the office to process permits for North Dakota, expediting approvals.

Hoeven said that currently, it takes about 180 to 270 days to permit an oil well on BLM land in North Dakota, compared to only about 10 days on private lands.

“At no additional cost to the taxpayer, this bill will improve the efficiency and the timeliness of a process that has become severely backlogged due to the incredible oil and gas development in the Bakken Formation,” Heitkamp said.

Hoeven introduced the same bill last year, and it was passed by the Senate. The House of Representatives did not pass the bill in the 112th Congress. Hoeven and Heitkamp are reintroducing the legislation during the new session.