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Cramer Bill Passes House, Congressman Delivers Floor Speech

May 15, 2013

Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Kevin Cramer spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives as the first bill he introduced was passed by the full chamber. H.R. 767 will improve the efficiency of processing federal oil and natural gas permits in North Dakota. Prior to today’s vote, Cramer worked to pass the bill out of the House Committee on Natural Resources.

Cramer explained his bill will help bring the federal government closer to the standard of efficiency set by North Dakota while maintaining existing standards. “The average number of days for getting a state permit in North Dakota are 10 to 20. The average number of days to get a federal permit are over 300. I don’t advocate bringing the federal lands down to 10 or 20, but I do think we can do better. My bill authorizes the Bureau of Land Management to expedite the process of applications for permits to drill on federal lands not by cutting corners, but by streamlining and bringing all of the federal agencies under one roof.”

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 established the Federal Permit Streamlining Pilot Project within the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), tasked with the purpose of improving the handling of oil and gas permits. However, North Dakota was not a part of the original pilot project. The Cramer bill amends the Act to include North Dakota by renaming the Miles City BLM field office as the “Montana/Dakotas State Office”, and allowing North Dakota permits to be streamlined through the project.

The BLM manages approximately 4.1 million subsurface acres of mineral estate, approximately 2,000 oil and gas leases, and has trust responsibility for over 3,000 oil and gas leases located on Indian lands in North Dakota. In addition to drilling oversight, the BLM provides inspection and enforcement for production accountability.

Senator John Hoeven has introduced similar legislation cosponsored by Senator Heidi Heitkamp in the Senate. Congressman Cramer is a member of the Natural Resources and Science, Space and Technology Committees, including the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, and the Subcommittee on Energy of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.