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The Federal government’s leasing ban is wrong on the law and is hurting North Dakota’s economy and its citizens, says Stenehjem
BISMARCK, ND – Late yesterday afternoon, North Dakota sued the Federal government, including the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Land Management, because BLM has unlawfully canceled the regularly scheduled auctions of oil & gas leases of public mineral rights in North Dakota that BLM is required by federal law to hold. “I have taken this action to protect North Dakota’s economy, the jobs of our hard-working citizens, and North Dakota’s rights to control its own natural resources” said Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.
Without following the legally required procedures, BLM arbitrarily canceled the March and June lease auctions and shows every sign of continuing to violate its statutory duties. Due to North Dakota’s unique “split estate” land and mineral rights structure, BLM’s illegal actions have disrupted the State’s programs for efficiently managing the State’s resources and are blocking the development of significant State and private mineral interests. Stenehjem says that the cancellation of the March and June auctions will cost the State over $80 million in lost revenues, a number that could grow to into billions in the coming months unless BLM’s illegal cancellations are stopped.
This lawsuit was filed shortly after a Federal court in Louisiana preliminarily enjoined a BLM lease cancellation policy on June 15. “I welcome and support the Louisiana federal district court’s decision,” Stenehjem said, “and I look forward to defending North Dakota’s vital interests in its natural resources and continuing to put the pressure on the Federal government to do the right thing for our state.”
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Read the Complaint