MINOT, N.D. — Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem recently filed suit against President Joe Biden’s administration over a moratorium on federal oil and gas leases implemented by Secretary of the Interior (and anti-oil activist) Debra Haaland
You might think this is a relatively small matter, with a marginal impact on North Dakotans, given that most of our state’s land and minerals are privately owned.
About 85% of North Dakota’s mineral rights are owned privately. Another 9% is owned by the federal government (of which 4% is held in trust by the feds for Native American tribes). The tribes got an exemption from the Biden administration’s moratorium — a good thing given the dire economic consequences that would have ensued — but many, many private mineral owners are still impacted.
Under the law, every spacing unit that has federal minerals in it, no matter how small a portion, must go through the Bureau of Land Management’s leasing process before it can be developed.