Bismarck, ND (KXNET) — Senator Kevin Cramer joined us to discuss the Biden Administrations’ resumption of oil and gas drilling on federal lands.

President Biden ran with the promise of ending all oil and gas drilling on federal public lands. He is now facing pressure from Americans for the price they’re paying at the pump and how that price reverberates through everything and raises the cost of living for everyone.

This is the first time new leasing will be available since Biden took office ten months ago, but only a fraction of eligible acres will be available. Cramer says the move is one step in the right direction followed by two steps in the wrong direction.

“He’s only considering 20% of the eligible BLM acres for leasing. And on top of that, he’s adding to the price of doing it, he’s adding to the royalty price. royalties are based on a percentage of the revenue created by drilling on the land. So he’s creating a disincentive to drill on the land. Because there’s a big difference between getting a lease and drilling, they’re not the same thing that the lease is the only the very first step. And if you open up for some leases, but then disincentivize, the drilling, you really haven’t accomplished anything,” explained Cramer.

In addition to making only a fraction available, the Department of Interior announced they are raising the royalty rate from 12.5% to 18.75%.

“Markets respond to signals and signals include things like demand, and it includes things like price, the cost of doing the business, the regulations that surround it. And so again, while he opens up a modest number of acres for leasing, he sends all the other signals it says don’t drill here. Just as an example, once you get a lease, first thing you have to determine is whether or not there’s even minerals underneath it. Now North Dakota, I think we have pretty good sense of where our oil is, and even on federal lands, but then you have to do an application for a permit to drill. And the Bureau of Land Management has expanded the time it takes to get that permit, every day that it takes to get a permit really becomes a disincentive. Because you’ve gone on private land someplace, you’re going to access some face and you don’t have to go through that. They have more than doubled the days it takes to get a permit from what it was in the previous administration. So, you know, again, one step forward, two steps back then consider all the other signals that are sent to the marketplace things like the nominees for Federal Reserve and Comptroller of the Currency. And, people that have pledged to shut down the fossil fuel industry, people have pledged to change the entire system in the United States of America. You know, every agency is sending the wrong signals for this and then consider a shutdown of pipelines and the transportation means to move the oil to market. So I think the President is trying to score some political points with this gimmick and it isn’t really serious about America getting back to being energy dominant energy independent,” said Cramer.

Biden’s leasing announcement was blasted by both the oil industry and environmentalists.