Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the Bureau of Land Management will introduce new automated tracking systems that could reduce the review period for drilling permits on public lands by two-thirds, without jeopardizing safety. Salazar says the new system would also speed up the processing of federal oil and gas leases.
Lauren O’Neill is a correspondent with the Energy Intelligence Group.
“If an operator is submitting an application to drill, the Bureau of Land Management, which reviews the application, has to look it over, and then it’s a very long back-and-forth process in which the operator has to keep revising their application. With an automated system, it would probably speed up the process, but not as much as the industry would like.”
The move comes as Republicans and the oil industry are criticizing the administration for policies they claim have diminished oil production on public property and have contributed to high gasoline prices. But data released by the Energy Information Administration in March show crude oil production on public lands onshore was at its highest since 2003.