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Primary Member, State of North Dakota, Royalty Policy Committee

Brent Sanford was named as a primary member of the Department of Interior’s Royalty Policy Committee, and as a member of this committee advises Secretary Zinke “on policy and strategies to improve management of the multi-billion dollar, federal and American Indian mineral revenue program.”

Brent Sanford is the Lieutenant Governor of North Dakota. A North Dakota native, Sanford graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1994 with an accounting degree. After graduating, he worked for eight years at Eide Bailly, “an accounting firm in Fargo,” and then was “hired as chief financial officer for Transwest Trucks,” a truck dealership headquartered in Brighton, Colorado. “In November 2004, Sanford became owner and president of S & S Motors,” an auto dealership in Watford City. From 2006 to 2010, Sanford served as a Watford City Councilman, and from 2010 to 2016 he was mayor of Watford City, which has been described as an “oil hub.” Sanford was also a “board member with the McKenzie County Job Development Authority,” where he “helped the region manage the economic swings of the Bakken oil play.” Sanford ran for lieutenant governor in 2016 and has been the Lieutenant Governor of North Dakota since December 15, 2016.

Sources: [Department of Interior, Press Release, 09/01/17, “Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford,” North Dakota Office of the Governor, accessed 09/25/17, and Mike Nowatzki, “Oil, coal sectors pump funds into Stenehjem’s campaign, but not Burgum’s,” Bismarck Tribune, 05/17/16]

Special Interests

American Petroleum Institute (Resource Development on Public Lands)

In 2013, Sanford signed a letter supporting the Keystone XL pipeline that was circulated by America's Energy Forum, an entity sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute.

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Political Connections

Brent Sanford accepted $99,280 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry during the 2016 election cycle, when he ran for Lieutenant Governor of North Dakota.

[“Show Me Oil & Gas Contributions To Sanford, Brent,” National Institute of Money in State Politics, accessed on 09/25/17]

Other Information

In June 2017, Brent Sanford “spoke directly” with Secretary Ryan Zinke “during a White House summit on infrastructure, advocating for shorter permitting periods for oil and gas wells on federal lands.”

[North Dakota Office of the Governor, Press Release, 09/01/17]

Brent Sanford predicts that an “oil foothold” and “all-of-the above energy policy” will help North Dakota’s economy in the future.

Brent Sanford, in February 2017, said that “it wasn’t too long ago Watford City was dying.” According to Sanford, it was “‘quite a sad time from the mid-80’s to late 90’s,'” and “before the oil boom, Watford City” was concerned about “recruitment and retention.” But Watford City experienced “rapid growth… when the oil activity exploded.”

Sanford continued saying that, with the “‘ag and oil foothold and the all-of-the above energy policy,'” “North Dakota’s best days are ahead.” [Stu Merry, “Dancing Ukranian; Lt. Governor touts local formula,” McLean County Independent, 02/02/17]

Brent Sanford has claimed that “our federal government doesn’t like income from land opportunities like we have.”

Brent Sanford, in June 2017, said, “We’re preaching all of the above energy focus that we have in North Dakota,” whether the energy is “wind, whether it’s coal, whether it’s oil and gas.”

Sanford continued, saying that there are “no wind farms on the reservations” but there are “wind farms on private land… outside of the federal land” and “outside of reservation lands.” According to Sanford, if “you look at where the oil production is, it’s a checker board of federal lands that’s in the Bakken and very few wells in those areas. There is plenty in the private areas.” He claimed, “Basically it looks like our federal government doesn’t like income from land opportunities like we have.”

[“Lt. Governor Brent Sanford discusses the WH infrastructure summit,” Valley News Live, 06/08/17]

Brent Sanford thinks it would be “incredible” to only have to get one environmental impact statement instead of multiple environmental impact statements.

Brent Sanford, in the same June 2017 interview, praised Secretary Zinke’s idea to only get one environmental impact statement, instead of “six, seven, eight environmental impact statements from different federal agencies,” for major infrastructure projects as being “incredible.”

[“Lt. Governor Brent Sanford discusses the WH infrastructure summit,” Valley News Live, 06/08/17]

Brent Sanford lamented that it takes “630 days” to permit a well “if you’re on federal land that are non-reservation.”

[“Lt. Governor Brent Sanford discusses the WH infrastructure summit,” Valley News Live, 06/08/17]

Brent Sanford signed a letter supporting the Keystone XL Pipeline that was circulated by America’s Energy Forum, a group linked to American Petroleum Institute. 

In 2013, when he was the mayor of Watford City, North Dakota, Brent Sanford signed a letter asking President Obama to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline because “[f]rom an energy security, economic, and environmental perspective, the pipeline is clearly in our nation’s best interest.” The letter, signed by multiple local government officials, was sent by America’s Energy Forum. According to their website, America’s Energy Forum is sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute. [Robert McDonnell to Barack Obama, Regulations.gov, 04/22/2013, and “Copyright,” America’s Energy Forum, accessed 09/25/17]

In September 2017, Brent Sanford and other North Dakota officials greeted Donald Trump on the tarmac of the Bismarck Airport before Trump spoke at the Andeavor Oil Refinery.

[“President lands at Bismarck airport ahead of speech,” MyNDNow, 09/06/17]