Sidney Herald: Senators urge quick decision for oil leases

Montana Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus have requested the Bureau of Land Management to expedite a decision regarding the sale of 129 oil and gas leases.

Earlier this month, the bureau delayed all oil and gas lease sales in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota while BLM studies potential impact on climate change.

“We have opportunities in conventional and renewable energy. If we sit on our hands, nothing happens,” Tester said during a conference call Thursday.

He notes sometimes courts and agencies seem to delay action.

“I have always been one of the people who believes there’s a place for resource development,” Tester said.

The senators wrote to BLM director Bob Abbey, “We are writing to you today regarding the Bureau of Land Management’s decision to delay the April 13th scheduled sale of 129 oil and gas leases in Montana and the Dakotas.

“The issuance of these leases is an important part of Montana’s burgeoning oil and gas industry. We appreciate your decision to complete the required environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in light of the recent court decisions, but we ask that you move forward expeditiously to complete your work and move forward with the lease sale as quickly as possible once those reviews are complete.

“Please keep us updated on your progress, and we look forward to working with you as this process moves forward.”

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