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Deputy Interior Secretary Beaudreau talks energy development and clean energy with ND oil and coal representatives

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Dave Thompson, Prairie Public
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ND Petroleum Council president Ron Ness (L), Sen. Kevin Cramer, Deputy Interior Secretary Tommy Beaudreau and Sen John Hoeven at the Bismarck event

Deputy Interior Secretary Tommy Beaudreau said he thinks North Dakota energy producers have some of the same goals in mind as the Interior Department – and that is, to produce cleaner energy.

Beaudreau was at a roundtable with energy producers in Bismarck. He came at the invitation of Sen. John Hoeven. He told reporters he was impressed with what the representatives of oil and coal had to say about clean energy, and innovation.

"We all have similar goals, around development of energy, but doing so in a way that's cleaner, and results in less emissions and less impacts on the climate as a result," Beaudreau said. "The spirit that was shown to promote innovation and reduced emissions, leading to cleaner energy development is the major takeaway that I will bring back with me to Washington."

"We talked a lot about the opportunities to make the Bakken barrel cleaner," said North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron Ness. "I think there's a path forward"

One bone of contention was President Biden’s executive order, calling for a “stay” in issuing federal permits for oil and gas leases.

"This will be the third quarter lease sale that they miss," said state Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms, at his monthly Director's Cut briefing Friday. " He said he knows of two tracts that are impacted by missing the lease sale, and those are under the Van Hook arm of Lake Sakakawea.

"About 23 wells need to be drilled in that acreage," Helms said. "That's over $157 million of impact to the state of North Dakota," Helms said.

Beaudreau said the point of that executive order, signed by President Biden, was to review the leasing program.

"That review has been proceeding as expeditiously as possible," Beaudreau said. "We are looking at the next steps around the leasing program, and hopefully, can provide everyone with a clear picture in the near future."

Beaudreau said there isn’t a timeline for that.

North Dakota has gone to federal court, to force Interior to start holding lease sales again.

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