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Federal judge says BLM must reinstate quarterly oil and gas lease sales in North Dakota

A federal judge in Bismarck has ordered the federal Bureau of Land Management to resume quarterly oil and gas lease sales in North Dakota.

Judge Daniel Traynor ruled those sales had been illegally cancelled by the BLM.

The dispute began in 2021, when President Biden issued an executive order pausing the sales, which were required by the Mineral Leasing Act.

In his ruling, Traynor said BLM needs to comply with federal law, and do what Congress told BLM to do.

Attorney General Drew Wrigley welcomed the decision.

"You look at this, and you think, 'Where else could they have come out in this," Wrigley said. "The law is so clear. The mandate is so clear. And then the Biden Administration' promises and assurances were so clear. They violated even their own promises, that they were going to follow the law and have these sales."

Wrigley said the cancellation of the lease sales were costing North Dakota’s citizens over $100 million in revenue per year.

No word on whether BLM will appeal.

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