US Chamber of Commerce Blog
Interior Department Will Speed Up Approving Oil and Natural Gas Permits on Federal Lands | Jul 7 2017
While we experienced an oil and natural gas boom—the Shale Boom—it was happening on private and state-owned lands. On federal lands, the production of both was declining.u-s-oil-production-barrels-per-day-federal-lands-non-federal-lands_800px.png Facebook Tweet u-s-natural-gas-production-billion-cubic-feet-federal-lands-non-federal-lands_800px.png Facebook Tweet
The charts above are a few years old, but they give you an idea of what was happening during the Obama years.
Simply put, the Obama administration made a concerted effort to turn off the energy spigot on federal lands.
Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke took an important step in reversing this ill-conceived policy:
U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday signed an order to hold more lease sales and to speed up approving permits to explore for oil and gas on federal land, a process he said got bogged down under former President Barack Obama.
The order is the latest move by the administration of President Donald Trump to make it easier to drill and mine on federal land, which Zinke said is a source of income for the government.
The Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management is supposed to take 30 days to review applications for permits to drill but Zinke said the average time for processing in 2016 was 257 days.
"I'm directing the BLM to conduct quarterly lease sales and address these permitting issues," Zinke said in a statement. "We are also looking at opportunities to bring support to our front line offices who are facing the brunt of this workload."
There were 2,802 permit applications pending as of Jan. 31, with three quarters of them filed in five field offices in Wyoming, Utah, North Dakota and New Mexico.
In contrast to the bogged-down federal permitting process, a 2014 Interior Department Inspector General’s report found that it took state regulators only 80 days to approve permits.
The U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute is pleased with this “much needed attitude adjustment.”
“The law has been pretty clear for a century--the Secretary of Interior is responsible for conducting quarterly lease sales on available BLM land and concluding the review process on an application for a permit to drill within 30 days. The previous administration decided to ignore these legal requirements to the detriment of U.S. energy security and western jobs,” explained Christopher Guith, senior vice president of policy. “Secretary Zinke’s re-commitment to following the law is a tremendous step towards harnessing America’s status as a growing energy super-power.”
Unlike its predecessor, the Trump administration embraces America’s energy abundance—wherever it’s located--and is employing sensible policy to fortify our energy security.
Over the last decade, America’s energy landscape has changed dramatically. Our nation has gone from energy scarcity and heavy reliance on foreign—and sometimes hostile—sources for fuel to energy abundance and exporting American resources around the world. Ten years ago, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched the Institute for 21st Century Energy to help unify energy stakeholders and policymakers behind a strategy to make America’s supply of fuel and power more accessible, affordable, and stable while protecting national security and the environment.
The Institute has had a seat at the table for every important debate on energy policy over the past decade. It has fought against misguided regulations, run effective policy campaigns, and mobilized our members at every level. It has worked on behalf of the entire industry, moving all forms of energy forward.
Most important, the Institute has helped empower America’s private sector energy innovators. Together those innovators have driven an American energy revolution. The rise of fracking has allowed us to access hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of shale oil that was previously unreachable and has supported well over a million jobs. Other innovations have bolstered the production of renewable energies such as wind, solar, and nuclear power. Still others have changed how energy is transported and used.
The Institute has also provided support to government leaders as they have advanced major energy reforms this year. President Trump has declared the promotion of U.S. energy resources a strategic national objective, ordered a review of all energy regulations, and reversed multiple misguided Obama-era policies restricting energy development. These actions will unleash domestic production and support large-scale economic growth and job creation.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary, the Chamber has relaunched our energy institute as the Global Energy Institute. As it enters its second decade, the Institute will mobilize the Chamber’s national network of state and local partners to help advance energy in their communities. It will also strengthen our nation’s ability to export resources and energy technologies around the globe. These advances will bolster prosperity, strengthen national security, and create a cleaner and more efficient future for the world.
America’s energy renaissance has transformed our economy and our country and now it will change the world. Our nation’s natural resources must continue to be converted not only into energy but into jobs, growth, and prosperity for millions of people here and across the globe. Through the Global Energy Institute, the Chamber looks forward to shaping energy policy to create a better and brighter future.