North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says the ban could cost North Dakota "billions in the coming months".

Well that's quite a bit of money.  But it is federal land, so the president's gotta be boss of that right?  Seems what's now happening is the Bureau of Land Management has canceled two lease sales that had been scheduled for both March and June.  The Associated Press had this story...

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court in Bismarck claims the move is unlawful. It seeks to force the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to reschedule two lease sales that were canceled and block the agency from revoking others in the future.

The lawsuit said the two canceled sales this year have cost the state more than $82 million.

Clearly $82 million is far from the "billions in the coming months" Stenehjem was projecting.  Thing is, federal and private or tribal lands are not as easily definable as one would think.  The Williston Herald shares the history of how many private landowners in the region ran into a thing called The Great Depression.

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  The Federal Government Giveth and Taketh Away.

So there were many foreclosures during the Depression. The federal government found themselves with a great amount of land which later came back into possession of state and private sectors.  BUT, in many cases it was just the return of surface rights and the feds maintained the mineral rights.  So instead of thinking that a moratorium on new leases applies exclusively to land in National Parks, consider how these lands are intertwined with private land and tribal territories as well.

Our Governor and Congressional delegation fully support the lawsuit.  More states are expected to jump onboard in the weeks to come.


LOOK: Stunning vintage photos capture the beauty of America's national parks

Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

Keep scrolling for 50 vintage photos that show the beauty of America's national parks.