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December 5, 2022

Burgum urges federal government to reinstate oil-and-gas leases

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said he is urging the U.S. Department of Interior to allow the state to resume oil-and-gas leases on federal lands.

Burgum, who is in Coronado, Calif., attending the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) winter meeting, met with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and asked her to direct the Bureau of Land Management to stop delaying the lease auctions, according to a news release.

North Dakota sued the Biden administration in July over its decision to halt the leases, saying the state lost more than $80 million from canceling auctions in March and June and billions more could be lost if the order stood. A federal judge preliminarily enjoined the Biden administration’s order earlier this year in a decision based on a similar case filed in Louisiana.

Burgum also discussed the state’s potential to store carbon dioxide underground, a move that could help achieve carbon neutrality, he said. The state was the first to receive approval from the federal government for Class VI injection wells for carbon dioxide. The governor said he discussed fair compensation for landowners with Haaland.

“With its many agencies touching land, water, tribal affairs, mining, parks, fish and wildlife, Interior’s impact across North Dakota is huge, and it’s critical that we stay engaged on these and other important issues,” Burgum said.

Burgum and Halland also discussed the Garrison Diversion Project, problems with South Unit scenic drive in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, tribal gaming and reducing incidences involving missing and murdered indigenous women.

The governor also planned meetings with FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Richard Glick and Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., he said in the news release.

“North Dakota plays a key role in feeding and fueling the nation and the world, so it’s crucial that federal leaders understand and appreciate the challenges and opportunities facing our state,” Burgum said in a statement.”We’re grateful for their time and attentiveness, and to WGA for providing a forum for these important conversations that can yield real results for the state of North Dakota, the tribal nations with whom we share geography, and all our citizens.”

The two-day meeting wraps up with a roundtable discussion on cases involving murdered and missing indigenous people and a second roundtable discussion among the governors on policy resolutions.

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