(The Center Square) – Proposed changes to oil and leasing guidelines will discourage domestic energy production, North Dakota officials said.
The Bureau of Land Management is recommending an increase in the minimum bid amount to lease public lands from $2 to $10. Companies would need a minimum $150,000 bond instead of the current $10,000.
The Bureau would direct oil and gas companies away from areas with wildlife habitats to lands with “existing infrastructure or high production potential,” according to the proposal.
“This proposal to update BLM’s oil and gas program aims to ensure fairness to the taxpayer and balanced, responsible development as we continue to transition to a clean energy economy,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “It includes common sense and needed fiscal revisions to BLM’s program, many directed by Congress.”
U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he would do everything he can to stop it.
“They say this will ‘increase taxpayer returns,’ when in reality, it robs taxpayers from an important revenue stream and jobs,” Cramer said. “This policy is good for Russia, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia, but bad for the United States and the global environment.”
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who is also running for president, said the rule would stifle U.S. energy production.
“By raising costs for oil and gas producers who want to develop minerals on federal lands, BLM will drive away producers and drive up energy costs for consumers, who will be forced to pay higher prices for fuels imported from countries that don’t produce energy as cleanly as the United States,” Burgum said in a statement. “We should be selling energy to our friends and allies instead of buying it from our adversaries and putting our country’s economy, energy security and national security at risk.”
U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Traynor reinstated oil and gas leasing on public lands in March after the Biden administration stopped them when he took office in 2021.
Comments on the rule will be accepted for 60 days after the rule is published in the federal register.