AG Knudsen leads intervention in federal lawsuit to protect energy leases from eco-group attack

AG Knudsen leads intervention in federal lawsuit to protect energy leases from eco-group attack

HELENA – A federal judge today granted Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen’s request to intervene in the case Dakota Resource Council v. U.S. Department of Interior which threatens oil and gas lease sales on federal land. Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming are also intervening states.

Attorney General Knudsen can now protect Montana’s sovereign and economic interests in continuing quarterly oil and gas lease sales from eco activists suing the Biden administration – which recently had its own lease sale moratorium declared illegal – to stop the lease sales in the case.

“Since taking office, President Biden has been waging war on American energy independence which is why we must protect these lease sales from radical green groups and the Biden administration itself,” Attorney General Knudsen said. “If lease sales are overturned, there could be big consequences for Montana and our partner states including higher energy prices, job loss, decreased tax revenues, and lower royalties that go toward funding our public institutions.”

Dakota Resource Council is challenging 173 parcels that were auctioned by the BLM in June, including eight located in Montana which collected nearly $75,000 in bids, resulting in $35,000 in revenue for Montana from that single lease sale.

The Montana Minerals Management Bureau managed 1,126 total leases on state-owned land in fiscal year 2021 which produced 896,153 barrels of oil and 2,173,851 thousand cubic feet of gas. The royalty revenues totaled $6,033,658, and rentals, non-drilling penalties, and bonus revenues totaled $729,958.

In the motion filed on Friday, the states argued that they had the right to intervene in the case because they have a protected interested in the action, it threatens to impair the states’ interests, and that existing parties did not adequately represent the states’ interests.

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