Heitkamp Urges Repeal of Oil Export Ban

Senator Heidi Heitkamp
Senator Heidi Heitkamp

Heidi Heitkamp, U.S. Senator from North Dakota is urging lawmakers to repeal a 1970’s era ban on oil exports.

Related: Oil Export Ban May Hurt Economy

Taking the Senate floor last month, Heitkamp said that the existing restrictions on U.S. oil producers are harming America’s competitiveness. Heitkamp hopes to level the playing field by doing away with restrictions that hinder America’s economic growth and that threaten our long-term goal of becoming energy independent.

Not everyone is in favor of lifting the ban, however.

Athan Manual, the director of the Lands Protection Program at the Sierra Club, said his biggest concern is how increased oil consumption around the world will impact climate change. “We don’t think we should be exporting global warming, basically, to other countries,” he said. “We think all the countries in the world should do what the U.S. is doing and dramatically reduce their use of fossil fuels, especially oil, to fight climate change.

Keystone Bill Hits Another Snag

Heitkamp votes on keystone
Heitkamp votes on keystone

Republican senators attempted to wind down debate on the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline Monday, but the effort failed to receive the necessary support.

Republicans needed 60 votes in order to advance approval of the bill and end filibusters, but bad weather and absenteeism were blamed on the final tally of 53-39.

U.S. senator Heidi Heitkamp (ND), a long time advocate for the pipeline, authored five amendments to this piece of legislation last week. She believes the construction of Keystone is critical for the nation’s energy infrastructure. After yesterday’s vote Heitkamp expressed her extreme disappointment in the process

In a press release, Heitkamp said, “For years I have said we need to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline so that we can build our energy infrastructure, increase our energy independence, and move our country closer to a true all of-the-above energy strategy...I’m still disappointed in the process that got us to this point. Congress needs to work together, which includes robust debate, calling up amendments, and voting.

In the following video, Senator Heitkamp speaks on the senate floor and urges colleagues to find common ground.

Bakken Permitting on BLM Lands Should Pick Up in 2014

Western ND Tribal Lands Map
Western ND Tribal Lands Map

Legislation aimed at improving the permitting process in the Bakken will now be in full effect, after being signed by President Barack Obama and passing approval in the US House and Senate.

The Bureau of Land Management Streamlining Act, authored by North Dakota Senators, Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven, will expand the service area of the Miles City, Montana office to process oil and gas production permits in western North Dakota.

The Impact on Permitting in the Bakken

The legislation is about helping to cut red tape and making the federal permitting process more timely and efficient.
— Senator Hoeven

It currently takes anywhere between 6 - 9 months to receive a permit on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands; however, on private lands it takes on average only 10 days. As of December 2013, 525 permits were awaiting approval on BLM lands. With the new legislation, anticipated efficiency and economic benefits are expected for both operators in the area and the State of North Dakota.

Read more at Heitkamp.senate.gov