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Senators issue statements on oil and gas permits


U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke recently signed a secretarial order to help streamline the backlogged permitting process for mineral leases on federal lands.

U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., applauded the decision, which directs the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to not only address the current permitting backlogs, but identify areas where improvements in the oil and gas leasing program can be made. The order also directs the BLM to look for solutions to improve access to additional parcels of federal land that are appropriate for mineral development.

“It is important that the federal permitting process for oil, gas and other resources is consistent and reliable if we want to encourage development in Wyoming, but right now the system is obviously not working,” Enzi said. “That is why I appreciate that Secretary Zinke and the Trump Administration are taking steps to not only clean up the current backlog, but improve the system for the future. We should ensure that we can safely but promptly provide the opportunity for development of our country’s energy resources on federal land.”

Earlier this year, the BLM reported more than 2,800 Applications for Permit to Drill (APD) pending, with the largest number pending at the Casper BLM office with 526. And according to the Department of the Interior, the BLM is required under the law to process APD review within 30 days, but current data shows the average time to approve an APD is 257 days.

U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) released the following statement on Secretarial Order 3354, signed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

The order addresses the backlog of energy permit applications at Bureau of Land Management (BLM) offices across the country—especially in Wyoming. It specifically calls for the development of a strategy to process permitting applications efficiently and effectively as well as the development of clear and actionable goals for reducing the permit processing time.

“For years, energy production has been bogged down by permitting delays in BLM offices across the West. If applications aren’t being approved, our economy suffers and we lose out on job opportunities in our local communities,” said Barrasso. “I’m encouraged that today’s secretarial order will get the ball rolling on making necessary reforms to help BLM field offices address the growing backlog. It’s important that BLM has a system in place that allows them to effectively and efficiently process these permits.”

According to the Department of Interior, as of January 31, 2017, the BLM had 2,802 applications for permit to drill (APDs) pending. The five BLM field offices with the highest number of pending APDs are listed below and account for approximately 74 percent of the total pending APDs.

• Casper, Wyoming: APDs pending: 526

• Vernal, Utah: APDs pending: 506

• Dickinson, North Dakota: APDs pending: 488

• Carlsbad/Hobbs, New Mexico: APDs pending: 388

• Farmington, New Mexico: APDs pending: 152


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