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ND congressional delegation oppose Biden halting fossil fuel permits on federal land

The Biden administration announced Thursday a 60-day suspension of new oil and gas leasing and drilling permits for U.S. lands and waters, as officials moved quickly to reverse Trump administration policies on energy and the environment, The Associated Press reported.

The order also applies to coal leases and permits, and blocks the approval of new mining plans, The Association Press also reported.

The suspension, part of a broad review of programs at the Department of Interior, went into effect immediately under an order signed Wednesday by Acting Interior Secretary Scott de la Vega.

North Dakota’s congressional delegation responded to the action.

“The moratorium placed on new federal oil, gas and coal permits harms our ability to produce energy domestically, especially in western states like North Dakota, where there is a significant presence of federal land,” said Sen. John Hoeven. “This kind of heavy-handed regulatory approach raises prices for consumers, increases our reliance on foreign energy sources and undermines the environmental goals of this administration as it prevents the construction of the infrastructure needed to capture natural gas and prevent flaring. Instead of increasing our dependence on countries with less stringent environmental standards, we should be producing more energy at home with better environmental stewardship. To this end, we will continue working to advance regulatory relief and new innovative technologies.”

Sen. Kevin Cramer said, “Temporarily halting oil and gas production is reckless and another attack on good-paying American energy jobs just hours into President Biden’s term. It will blow million-dollar-sized holes in already-tightening state budgets, not to mention the federal government’s budget, which receives significant funding from places in North Dakota like the Bakken.

“This move by the Biden Administration means fewer opportunities for American workers, decreased funding for important programs like education and infrastructure, and more control for Washington bureaucrats and far-left environmental extremists who want to upend America’s energy security.”

Over 30 members of the House Energy Action Team condemned the Biden Administration’s 60-day ban on oil and gas leases on federal lands.

Rep. Kelly Armstrong said, in a news release issued by the team, “Energy production on federal lands in North Dakota supports thousands of jobs and provides millions of dollars for our schools, hospitals, roads, and conservation. This misguided effort will crush a critical segment of our country’s economy, increase reliance on foreign energy, and weaken our national security. I call on the Biden Administration to support responsible energy development on our public lands.”

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