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Published December 20, 2013, 11:19 AM

Congress passes oil and gas permitting bill

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — U.S. Sens. John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp say the Senate has passed legislation they authored to help streamline oil and gas permitting on federal lands in western North Dakota.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — U.S. Sens. John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp say the Senate has passed legislation they authored to help streamline oil and gas permitting on federal lands in western North Dakota.

The House measure introduced by Rep. Kevin Cramer passed earlier.

The Bureau of Land Management Streamlining Act expands the service area of the Miles City, Mont., office to include North Dakota. The office will now be able to process permits for North Dakota, which the congressional delegation says will help to address backlogs and delays.

Hoeven and Heitkamp say federal permits currently take up to nine months for approval, compared to about 10 days for private lands. There are currently about 525 federal permits awaiting approval.

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