Gov. Doug Burgum met today with U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Interior Tommy Beaudreau and National Parks Service (NPS) Director Charles Sams to discuss a variety of North Dakota-related issues including the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library, Painted Canyon, water supply project funding, oil and gas development on federal lands and the state’s recent offer to help the NPS manage the herd of wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
“We appreciate Deputy Secretary Beaudreau and Director Sams taking the time to discuss opportunities for collaboration and partnership on these and other issues important to North Dakota citizens,” Burgum said. “The Department of the Interior has wide-reaching impacts on our state, with its many agencies touching land, water, tribal affairs, mining, parks, and fish and wildlife, so it’s essential that we remain engaged with their leadership on these critical issues.”
Among the topics discussed were Burgum’s recent letter to Sams urging the NPS not to adopt its preferred alternative plan for managing the herd of roughly 200 wild horses at Theodore Roosevelt National Park – a plan that calls for gradually eliminating the herd. Burgum reiterated his offer for the State of North Dakota to work with the NPS to manage the herd in a size and manner that supports genetic diversity and protects the park. The governor noted that the five tribal nations with whom North Dakota shares geography also have provided their general support for continued preservation of wild horses and longhorn cattle in the national park.
Burgum stressed the need to fund and complete the decades-old Garrison Diversion project, which would supply Missouri River water to eastern North Dakota in times of drought, as well as the federal funding mechanisms for the Northwest Area Water Supply project. Burgum also discussed the need to resume oil and gas leases on federal lands; the potential benefits of improving the Painted Canyon rest area in conjunction with the planned Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library in Medora; and how carbon capture, utilization and storage can help extend the life of baseload coal power and support enhanced oil recovery, helping to keep energy prices low for consumers while strengthening U.S. energy security with environmental stewardship.
Burgum is in Washington, D.C., to participate in the National Governors Association’s 115th Winter Meeting Thursday through Saturday. Burgum is a member of the NGA Executive Committee. Governors will discuss best practices and bipartisan collaboration on leading policy issues including infrastructure, workforce development and youth mental health, and will meet with a number of private and public sector leaders, including President Biden and Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy.
The winter meeting is one of two annual gatherings of the NGA, a bipartisan organization representing governors from all 50 states and five U.S. territories.