Obama Closes 1.6 Million Acres Of Federal Land To Oil Development, Heitkamp Remains Silent

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Remember when Senator-elect Heidi Heitkamp said on the campaign trail that she’d stand up to Barack Obama on energy issues? Well, just two days after the election President Obama shut down 1.6 million acres of federal land to oil development:

The Interior Department on Friday issued a final plan to close 1.6 million acres of federal land in the West originally slated for oil shale development.

The proposed plan would fence off a majority of the initial blueprint laid out in the final days of the George W. Bush administration. It faces a 30-day protest period and a 60-day process to ensure it is consistent with local and state policies. After that, the department would render a decision for implementation.

Heitkamp’s response so far? Deafening silence.

But that’s how it will work for Heitkamp. As long as the issue doesn’t directly impact North Dakota she’ll be a reliable ally for President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s far-left agenda. She’ll only deviate when she thinks taking a particular position might cost her some votes.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Tim Heise

    Not Surprised.

  • Wayne

    But Ms. Independent is just for ND. She said so.

  • zipity

    Oh just you wait, Senator “Hidey” Heitkamp is just warming up….she will give Obama hell over this….

    *SNORT*

    I breaks meself up sumtimes….

    • RCND

      She will claim she got up in his face about it while kicking his booty at one on one basketball over lunch

  • http://randysroundtable.blogspot.com/ Randy G

    Just like the last Senators from ND, not that I will name any names Kent and Byron…

  • azuleau

    Nice cherry picking there. I noticed how you conveniently left out the parts that indicate the plan is only a proposal, does not include any land in North Dakota, and does not effect fracking, but rather an oil extraction method does not been used since the 80s. There wasn’t even a serious effort to use the land for oil production anyway.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Who is cherry picking?

      It’s more than a proposal. The plan must be put out for public comment, but this is how these regulations are done.

      I didn’t know Heitkamp’s promise to protect domestic energy production extended only to production done in North Dakota. If oil development is right for ND, why isn’t it right for the whole country?

      And we’re not talking about processes. We’re talking about access to the land.

      Who was the one cherrypicking again? I think it’s you.

      • azul

        So you’ll only be satisfied if Heitkamp issued a statement every time oil production is any way conceivably impeded, no matter how minimal or reasonable the impact? Obama won’t let us drill for oil in the major metropolitan areas either, do you want Heitkamp to fight that as well?

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          I reject the premise that taking 1.6 million acres off the table for oil production is a “minimal” impact.

          And yes, I expect Heidi Heitkamp follow through on her campaign promises made about standing up to Obama on fossil fuels. If the politicians can send out a press release for every ribbon they cut, she can send out a press release when Obama’s Interior Secretary shuts down oil production for millions of acres of land.

          • azul

            It doesn’t take it off the table. Again, if you’d bothered to obtain anything besides a cursory understanding of the proposal, it just requires companies to show the economic and ecological value of oil shale extraction method prior to commercial leasing.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            It does take it off the table.

            They are setting the regulatory bar so high that oil development on these lands simply won’t happen.

          • azul

            So clearly you didn’t bother reading it and would rather stick to your pre-determined narrative.

          • alanstorm

            How many times do you have to see the same movie before being able to predict the ending? Your objections are either obstructionism or idiocy. We’ve already seen how this administration uses regulations, or the threat of them, to get what they want. (Sure, you can build a coal plant. It’s just that the administration will bankrupt you. – paraphrase of Barry O in his first campaign) Are you actually stupid enough to need it spelled out for you every time?

          • azul

            I’m only objecting to Rob’s misleading characterization. A favorite right wing talking point is the Obama administration is somehow suppressing domestic oil production, but it’s patently untrue. http://www.politifact.com/virginia/statements/2012/apr/09/barack-obama/barack-obama-ad-says-us-oil-production-eight-year-/

          • Wayne

            Oh no, not Politifact! God knows they don’t spin anything for the left. LOL

          • azul

            Oh no, you just reject anything that doesn’t fit your pre-determined narrative, even when it doesn’t match reality and you have no evidence to support your belief. Even Rick Berg ran ads citing Politifact you retarded mouthbreather.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            No, I understand the issue. I just don’t agree with the interpretation you’ve chosen for it.

            The Hill reported it accurately. This land is being effectively shut down for production.

      • azul

        Plus if you’d even bothered to read the proposal before slamming Heitkamp for not attacking it, you’d see it only requires those wishing to use oil shale development demonstrate the necessity of that method first. http://ostseis.anl.gov/documents/peis2012/chp/OSTS_Chapter_1.pdf

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Well of course. Anyone familiar with how this works knows they aren’t just going to prohibit it. They’ll just put so many regulations and hurdles in front of development that it’s a de facto prohibition.

          Which is why The Hill, rightly, reported it as “a final plan to close 1.6 million acres of federal land in the West originally slated for oil shale development.”

          Final plan. Close.

          Sorry, but you’re wrong.

          • azul

            Pure uncited speculation. Sorry, you’re just guessing.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            No, I cited The Hill report on the regulations, which included an accurate description of their reality.

            This is prohibition through regulation.

          • azul

            You just keep repeating that the regulations are onerous without having even cited one particular aspect of it that you reject. Read the regulation and inform yourself before forming an opinion

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            It is easy to think yourself right when you convince yourself that everyone disagreeing with you is doing so out of ignorance.

            These lands are being effectively closed, and you know it.

          • azul

            Again, you haven’t given cited any part of the regulation that will “effectively shut down” the oil production beyond your own unsupported assumptions and speculation. Since you’re the one that hasn’t read the proposal or supported his argument, while I’ve been able to point to regulation allowing shale development if reasonable (and apparently the regulation doesn’t apply to other types of oil production either), your adominition that “It is easy to think yourself right when you convince yourself that everyone disagreeing with you is doing so out of ignorance” applies more to you than to me.

          • Thresherman

            Heitkamp is going to be a lap dog for whatever Reid wants. I know it, Rob knows it, my dead dog knows it and even ND Democrats know it, they just won’t admit it. Oh, and an Administration that refused to release drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico dispite 2 court orders tellin it to do so, is going to everything in their power to shut htis area no matter how many times you want to parse words.

          • Guest

            It’s so frustrating to argue with people who just spout unsubstantiated drivel. Here, It’s like me saying “Rick Berg would’ve been a lapdog for the Koch brothers and Karl Rove, my dead dog knows, ND Republicans know it, they just won’t admit it.” It’s unproductive and pointless, and you should be ashamed for making such pointless unconstructive arguments. For the Gulf, it’s not surprising that an administration would temporarily halt drilling after a huge disaster, and moreover, production there is expected to reach record levels soon. Are you suggesting we shouldn’t ensure such a disaster wouldn’t happen again? Oh, and by the way, as much as you want to believe Obama is out to destroy the domestic oil industry, even Forbes admits he has done no such thing. http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2012/11/07/dont-worry-big-oil-president-obama-probably-doesnt-hate-you-as-much-as-you-think/

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            But it wasn’t just the temporary halt to drilling, was it? It was the permitatorium afterward in which theoretically oil companies could get permission to drill but as a practical matter none did.

            And if I’m wrong, why has fossil fuel energy production on federal lands declined under Obama even as overall domestic production increased?

            You say its frustrating to argue with people who “just spout unsubstantiated drivel.” That’s a funny comment coming from someone who clearly isn’t very familiar with this issue.

          • azulu

            You keep pretending like I didn’t link you the proposal and pointed out what it actually says. Just because you ignore it doesn’t mean I haven’t provided it to you. What’s really funny is that you are so oblivious to reality that any effort on my part to dispel your illusions is ignored and I’m mocked not being familiar with issue. You are the one that cannot point to any part of the proposed regulation to support your assumptions. Unless you can cite the particular parts of the proposal that will effectively shut down drilling, your argument is without merit.

          • azulu

            Also, your fossil fuel energy production argument was a Romney talking point which was debunked as cherry-picked and misleading. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/oct/16/mitt-romney/mitt-romney-says-oil-production-down-14-percent-ye/

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Anyone familiar with what the Obama administration did with the “permitatorium” in the gulf region for off shore drilling knows exactly whats going on here.

            Do develop shale oil/gas on these federal lands they oil companies need to justify the production. Theoretically, they could get approval.

            As a practical ,matter, of course they won’t. Which is why the hill, hardly a bastion of anti-democrat, pro-oil sympathies reported this as exactly what it is.

            You’re the one here splitting hairs.

          • Guest

            Again, you haven’t cited any data or facts beyond unfounded generalizations. You can’t even point to any part of the regulation, that’s too onerous because you’re either too lazy to read it or find something that goes against your pre-determined narrative. You’re argument is without merit and you know it.

      • azul

        Creative editing on your part too. The title of the article went from “Interior proposal would limit commercial oil shale development on federal lands” to “Obama Closes 1.6 Million Acres of Federal Land to Oil Development. Placing reasonable limits on extraction is not the same thing as banning, Rob.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          I reject your premise that these are reasonable limits.

  • azul

    duplicate post deleted

  • yy4u2

    To be fair, she’s probably still high fivin and belly bumpin with her relatives, but did Mr. Hoeven say anything either? If not, then why not? We don’t have leadership. We have greed-ership.

  • Mel

    I’ve been trying to figure out what percent of North Dakota’s oil production is on federal land – anybody know? While I know this plan doesn’t currently include North Dakota, it’s foolish to think that we aren’t next. This seems like just the shot across the bow. They’d go with a full broadside, but they know there would more resistance if they shut down shale oil production, of all types everywhere, all at once. But by bit, they will pick it up, first this 1.6 million acres, then federal lands elesewhere. First this older method, then fracking. First federal lands, then private lands. These guys are like children, they need to be told no every now and then, or they will keep grabbing more.

    If Heidi were worth her salt, she’d at least be asking questions.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I don’t know about production numbers, but according to Lynn Helms at the Department of Mineral Resources 88% of the mineral rights in ND are privately held, 6% are held by the State of North Dakota and 12% are held by the federal government or are tribal and managed by the feds.

      • Flyby_Knight

        That adds up to 106%

  • G Whiz

    I haven’t heard much about “Big Red” since bubba was in town. I was told she/ he was waiting for a dress to be dry cleaned she/ he wanted to auction off on ebay. The masterminds own us. They are in our schools, they are in our govt offices, they are in our media. So, just shut up, put on your brown shirts & learn to goose step. Agenda 21 will provide!!!!

    • borborygmi

      wingnut sighting

  • Harold

    Wait til the inheritance tax goes from $5 million to $1 million on the first of the year. No one will be able tp pass their business’s or farms or ranch’s on down to their family. This is what Obama and Heidi have in store for anyone who has worked hard and gotten a business going, your now gonna loose it to the socialists in Washington. You think Heidi was silent on Obama’s stopping drilling in govt land, wait til people realize they are about to loose everything they have worked for to these people such as Heidi and her God Obama.

    • Mike Quinn

      This lie has been disproven so many times, do we have to use this scare game one more time. Those poor people who may not get to inherit five million. What if they had to work like the rest of us. You guys lost.

      • Harold

        That is one of the dumbest statements I’ve seen written in this blog, work like the rest of us, so ranchers/farmers and small business people don’t work. I usually don’t even answer guys like you or even give you the time of day but when you write something like this I do but will be the last time ever answer your statement. Never seen such jealousy on display.

        • Mike Quinn

          Harold, I worked and earned every penny. My dad did not give me a five million dollar head start. What is so hard for you to get about that. When you inherit five million, you did not earn it. What don’t you understand about that? Remember that old deal about equality. The banker in our town gave his son the bank. The grocer gave his son the grocery store. Now if I am going to start a bank or grocery store, how do I compete on a fair basis with that? Does the work equal or fair exist in your dictionary? The dumbest comment I have seen is ” my dad gave me 5 million, I earned it all by being the first sperm to moms egg”.

  • borborygmi

    THis should make you happier then a Conservative at a Tea Party sponsored by the NRA . Less drilling on Federal Lands means an increase in need for Bakken oil , raising the price of oil so you don’t have to worry about falling prices and Bakken Production as you were in the previous thread. Happy, Happy, Joy, JOy

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I support a free market, not protectionism for the Bakken.

      It’s called being principled.

  • Righty

    Rob, what has John Hoeven said about the Interior Department’s plan?

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Nothing as far as i know, not that it matters. Hoeven’s position on this stuff is well established. Heitkamp is the one who campaigned on standing up to her party.

      Here’s her chance.

      • Righty

        But it seems to me here is an opportunity for Hoeven to take the lead and press the issue. It’s not very helpful if he is just standing by passively.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          That’s a point.

      • azulu

        It does matter. Your criticism was that Heidi isn’t standing up for her policy positions. Hoeven has the same position and also hasn’t done anything, yet I don’t see any condemnation of him for not taking action. Exactly the same situation, but only one Senator gets slammed. You lack any semblance of intellectual integrity or consistency because of these double standards.

  • Mike Quinn

    My dog is sick, I think Obama and Heidi poisoned him. I am sure it is a plot to implement Sharia law and take my guy

    • Wayne

      Obama can do anything and you lefties will just stick your heads up your asses and say, “What’s the problem?”

  • The Fighting Czech

    Watch out if she starts voting “Present” on every bill that comes up!!!

  • Sue

    What has Hoeven said on this? I also have this article

    http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/newsroom/2012/november/nr_11_09_2012.html

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