Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell praised safe and responsible oil and gas development during a recent tour of Bakken Formation areas of North Dakota.

Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell

“The Bakken boom is a perfect example of how new and improved technology is allowing industry to tap previously inaccessible or unknown energy resources to create jobs, decrease our dependence on foreign oil and grow our economy,” Jewel said.

“As drilling methods and technologies advance, we have an obligation to ensure that energy production is happening in a safe and responsible way for the environment and for communities. Working hand in hand with industry, we have an opportunity to use innovative technologies to capture natural gas to power more homes with cleaner American-made energy, while reducing methane emissions and cutting carbon pollution.”

Jewell was joined on her tour of Williston by U.S. Sens. John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigly and Bureau of Land Management Principal Deputy Director Neil Kornze. During their visit to the area, they saw oil and gas production facilities on federal land. The secretary toured an oil drilling rig and visited a production facility that processes oil before shipment to refineries across the country. Jewell also inspected new technologies companies there use to capture natural gas and methane emissions. Improving air quality through reduced emissions is one of the Obama Administration’s priorities.

Later, Jewell met with the new Bakken Federal Executive Group, which is comprised of representatives from 12 federal agencies that oversee oil and gas development in the region. The group is tasked with addressing obstacles to development of these resources.

“The BLM has seen a 500 percent increase in drilling applications in the area over the past five years—with more than half of the applications for Indian trust lands. With budget constraints, sequestration and mixed ownership jurisdictions, we need to combine our efforts and start thinking of natural resource management on a landscape scale,” Kornze said. “The federal and state activities going on here in the Bakken Formation are a perfect example of how natural resource management has shifted from individual agency efforts to a team effort. Working closely with our state, tribal and industry partners here in North Dakota, the BLM is committed to the type of close coordination and collaboration that is necessary to continue to expand safe and responsible development of domestic energy.”

 Oil and gas leasing administered by the Interior Department added $5.9 billion to North Dakota’s economic output in 2012 and created more than 28,000 jobs. Jewell also notes that energy production on Interior land added $230 billion to the U.S. economy and supported 1.2 million jobs in fiscal year 2012. Total production on those lands was 626 million barrels of crude oil, 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 460 million tons of coal during that same period.