The State of North Dakota (“State”) filed a complaint on July 7, 2021 (“Complaint”), in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota (Case No. 1:21-cv-00148-DMT-CRH) regarding the Biden Administration’s cancellation of oil and gas lease sales within the State. The State named in the Complaint the United States Department of the Interior, the Secretary of the Interior, the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”), the Director of the BLM, and the Director of the Montana-Dakotas BLM (collectively, “Defendants”) as defendants. In the Complaint, the State alleged that the Defendants unlawfully cancelled the quarterly lease sales for the months of March and June 2021, as is required by law. The cancellation of said lease sales was done in furtherance of President Biden’s Executive Order 14008, entitled,  “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad” (86 Fed. Reg. 7619 (Feb. 1, 2021)) (“Order”), which required the Secretary of the Interior to pause new oil and natural gas leases on public lands.

In the Complaint, the State alleged that the Defendants cancellation of the oil and gas lease sales violated the Mineral Leasing Act; the Federal Land Policy and Management Act; the National Environmental Policy Act; and the Administrative Procedure Act. Accordingly, the State requested that the Court compel the Defendants to hold the required quarterly lease sales, prohibit the Defendants from cancelling such lease sales, and award the State a preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining the Defendants from cancelling and implementing a moratorium on federal oil and gas lease sales in the State. The State’s allegations and its requested relief are similar and thus related to the States of Wyoming and Louisiana’s respective recent lawsuits  against the Biden Administration relating to the cancellation of lease sales. (See State of Wyoming v. United States Department of Interior, et al. (Case No. 21-cv-56) and State of Louisiana et al. v. Joseph R. Biden Jr. et al. (Case No. 2:21-CV-00778), respectively.)

A copy of the Complaint, as published by the New York Times, can be accessed here.