Secretary Jewell Visits North Dakota's Bakken Region

Tours Oil and Gas Production Facilities, Theodore Roosevelt National Park; As Part of President's Climate Action Plan, Inspects Innovative Technologies to Capture Methane Emissions

Last edited 09/05/2019

DICKINSON, N.D. – Underscoring the Obama Administration's all-of-the-above energy strategy and comprehensive Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell concluded her two-day trip to North Dakota today by praising federal, state and local partnerships that are facilitating safe and responsible oil and gas development in the Bakken Formation.

U.S. Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota Lieutenant Governor Drew Wrigley, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Principal Deputy Director Neil Kornze accompanied the Secretary on her tour of production facilities. Jewell also met with North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple.

Jewell, Hoeven and Heitkamp also visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park to highlight the economic contributions made by recreational visits to public lands in North Dakota, as well as to witness the strain put on park resources from increased oil and gas development in the region.

"The Bakken boom is a perfect example of how new and improved technology is allowing industry to tap previously inaccessible or unknown energy resources to create jobs, decrease our dependence on foreign oil, and grow our economy. As drilling methods and technologies advance, we have an obligation to ensure that energy production is happening in a safe and responsible way for the environment and for communities," said Jewell. "Working hand in hand with industry, we have an opportunity to use innovative technologies to capture natural gas to power more homes with cleaner American-made energy, while reducing methane emissions and cutting carbon pollution."

During her visit to the Williston area on Tuesday, Jewell saw examples of oil and gas production on a federal mineral estate in western North Dakota, where production is rapidly expanding on federal, state, and private lands. The Secretary toured a drilling rig producing oil from federal resources and visited a crude oil production facility where oil is processed and transported via truck, rail and pipelines to refineries across the country. Jewell also inspected new technologies being employed by some companies in the region to capture and reduce natural gas and methane emissions. The President's Climate Action Plan calls for the Administration to work collaboratively with state governments, as well as the private sector, to reduce emissions across multiple sectors, improve air quality, and achieve public health and economic benefits.

On Tuesday afternoon, Jewell visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park to discuss the important role the park plays in creating outdoor recreational opportunities and boosting the local economy. The park welcomes approximately 600,000 visitors each year who contribute $28.32 million to the local economy and supports 451 jobs.

"The park pays tribute to Theodore Roosevelt and his enduring contribution to the conservation of our nation's resources," said Jewell. "This landscape, which inspired President Roosevelt and still inspires visitors today, is a big economic engine for the region. It's also a powerful reminder that, even as we bear witness to a production boom in the Bakken, there are places important to America that are too special to drill and must be protected for future generations."

Today, Jewell met with the new Bakken Federal Executive Group to discuss some of the challenges associated with the rapid expansion of oil and gas development in the region. The Group represents a dozen federal bureaus with review and permitting responsibilities that are working collaboratively to address common development obstacles associated with the Bakken boom in western North Dakota. The group was identified by the President as one of five priority regional initiatives under Executive Order 13604, Improving Performance of Federal Permitting and Review of Infrastructure Projects.

"The BLM has seen a 500 percent increase in drilling applications in the area over the past five years – with more than half of the applications for Indian trust lands. With budget constraints, sequestration and mixed ownership jurisdictions, we need to combine our efforts and start thinking of natural resource management on a landscape scale," said Kornze. "The federal and state activities going on here in the Bakken Formation are a perfect example of how natural resource management has shifted from individual agency efforts to a team effort. Working closely with our state, tribal and industry partners here in North Dakota, the BLM is committed to the type of close coordination and collaboration that is necessary to continue to expand safe and responsible development of domestic energy."

Several strategies have been employed to meet the increased demands on BLM's North Dakota Field Office. A North Dakota Focus Team was established to assess the needs of the field office and to make recommendations to the State Leadership Team. The field office also implemented a pilot program for electronic submission of an Application for Permit to Drill (APD), and began encouraging all operators to submit electronic APDs last spring. Not only does this increase timeliness for submittal, electronic APDs enable timely revisions and reviews and allow operators to track the status of their applications.

Interior-administered oil and gas leasing, exploration and production in North Dakota contributed $5.9 billion in total economic output to the state in 2012 and generated about 28,700 total jobs. Royalties from Indian lands totaled nearly $250 million last year, compared to $106.7 million in 2011 and $1.8 million in 2008. The BLM's July oil and gas lease sale in the Bakken garnered nearly $50 million and generated a record bonus bid of $33,000 per acre.

For every $1 spent on operations and labor for the BLM's North Dakota Field Office during FY 2012, a total of $121 was returned and shared between the U.S. Treasury, State of North Dakota, Three Affiliated Tribes, Turtle Mountain Tribe, and Individual Indian Mineral Owners.

Jewell also noted energy produced from all Interior lands in FY 2012 contributed $230 billion to the U.S. economy and supported 1.2 million jobs. That production included 626 million barrels of crude oil, 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 460 million tons of coal, according to the recently released U.S. Department of the Interior Economic Report for Fiscal Year 2012. The report showed that Department of the Interior's overall activities contributed $371 billion to the U.S. economy in 2012, supporting 2.3 million jobs in outdoor recreation and tourism, energy development, grazing, timber harvesting and other areas.


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