Tester, Walsh celebrate passage of bill that saves Miles City BLM office

Bipartisan bill will permanently fund pilot program, foster responsible natural resource development

(U.S. SENATE) – Senators Jon Tester and John Walsh today hailed the passage of a bipartisan bill that will ensure the continuation of a vital pilot program that increases the efficiency and coordination of oil and gas permitting within the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The bill permanently extends the pilot program that allows the BLM to set up satellite offices that help streamline the permitting process. One of these pilot offices is the Miles City satellite office, where landowners and tribal nations have been working since 2005 to permit oil and gas leases on federal land.

Without the bill, which Tester and Walsh sponsored, the pilot office in Miles City would have closed its doors in September 2015.

“Montana is blessed with tremendous natural resources and their responsible and efficient development will strengthen our economy and our communities,” Tester said. “Passing this bill is an important step forward to continue to responsibly tapping in Eastern Montana’s natural resources and making government more efficient. It shows that good things happen when folks together.”

“The Miles City pilot office helps Montana oil and gas producers develop their resources efficiently and responsibly,” Walsh said. “Under the program, the BLM can innovate and better coordinate the permitting and development of natural resources, so more Montana energy products reach American consumers. I’ll continue to fight for programs that foster responsible natural resource development across the state.”

“Oil and gas development is vital to Montana’s economy, particularly in Eastern Montana,” said David Galt, the Executive Director of the Montana Petroleum Association. “The Montana Petroleum Association is pleased that oil and gas producers were able to work with Senators Tester and Walsh to continue a program that has worked so well in our state.”

A copy of the bill, the BLM Pilot Office Improvement Act, is available online HERE.