WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), a Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee member, joined Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) in introducing the Federal Land Freedom Act, a bill to give states the right to develop all of the energy resources on the federal lands located within the state’s borders.

“Since he came into office, President Biden has worked to hamstring American energy production, starting with the abundant natural resources on America’s publicly owned lands which were already bogged down by an intrusive federal bureaucracy whose overreaching regulations no longer serve their original purpose,” said Senator Cramer. “The Federal Land Freedom Act would give North Dakota greater control over how to best utilize Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service lands within our borders.”

The Federal Land Freedom Act would:
  • Give each state the right to develop all of the energy resources on the federal lands located within that state’s borders.
    • Exceptions include tribal lands, national parks, units of the National Wildlife Refuge System, and congressionally designated wilderness areas.
  • Allow a state to develop a regulatory program governing the leasing and permitting of energy activities on its federal land. None of the actions taken by a state to lease or permit lands would be subject to judicial review. 
    • Further, the act will exempt the activities under the program from the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act. It will also not be subject to the Administrative Procedures Act.
  • Retain the current royalty share between states and the federal government under the Mineral Leasing Act but reverse the flow of funds. Operators will now pay royalties to states, which will then send the federal government’s share to the treasury.

The Lignite Energy Council (LEC) and North Dakota Petroleum Council (NDPC) offered their support for the legislation.

“North Dakota, the birthplace of mine reclamation programs and the Bakken revolution, has long demonstrated its ability to most sustainably manage its resources while protecting the health and well-being of its families and communities. While we appreciate the support and good intentions of Washington DC regulators, too often they are unfamiliar with North Dakota and fail to adequately demonstrate a familiarity with our operations and respect for the land.  This bill empowers those people who are most familiar with the environmental risks to build programs that best protect the environment while maintaining and extending North Dakota’s position atop the United States’ energy and environmental hierarchy,” said LEC CEO and President Jason Bohrer.

“We applaud Senator Cramer’s support of the Federal Land Freedom Act,”said NDPC President Ron Ness. “This bill embodies the concept that North Dakotans have long supported; as a state, we are much better equipped to manage our lands and resources than the federal government.  We have an effective state regulatory structure in place and we are proud of our environmental record.  North Dakota permits and approves projects in a timely manner without the costly and time-consuming burdens of federal regulations and bureaucracy, which helps ensure continued American energy security and affordable energy prices.”

Senators Cramer and Inhofe are joined on the Federal Land Freedom Act by Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), James Lankford (R-OK), and Mike Crapo (R-ID).