Proposed bill aims to speed onshore drilling permit process

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, June 28 -- US Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) introduced legislation that would require quicker decisions by the US Department of the Interior on onshore oil and gas drilling permit applications on public lands.

HR 2375 would require DOI officials to identify 200 onshore leases with the highest energy potential on land the US Bureau of Land Management oversees each year and move them through the permitting process in 180 days. BLM says it takes an average 200 days to process a drilling permit application, but the actual waiting time for many permits is closer to 2 years, Coffman said.

Noting the Obama administration’s June 23 announcement that it plans to release 30 million bbl of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in response to higher prices, Coffman said the administration should simply stop standing in the way of more US oil and gas development instead.

“We are sitting on enough of our own energy resources that we could lower energy costs, stimulate the economy, and promote energy independence in the US if the government only allowed us to produce them,” he maintained.

Coffman, a member of the Natural Resources Committee, said a January BLM public lands statistical report showed more than 2,400 new oil and gas leases were issued and 2.6 million acres were leased on BLM land in 2008. In 2010, he continued, there were only 1,300 new leases and 1.3 million acres leased.

He said HR 2375 has the support of the Western Energy Alliance, which represents Rocky Mountain independent producers, and the Colorado Oil & Gas Association.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.



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