Boehner urged to bring BLM drilling permit processing bill to floor

Six oil and gas association presidents and officials from two major national business groups urged US House Speaker John A. Boehner to consider a Senate-approved measure extending a drilling permit processing pilot program in several US Bureau of Land Management field offices before Congress’s lame-duck session concludes.

The Senate passed S. 2440, co-sponsored by Tom Udall (D-NM) and John A. Barrasso (R-Wyo.) by unanimous consent in late September (OGJ Online, Sept. 17, 2014). It would extend and make permanent a pilot program established under the 2005 Energy Policy Act which is scheduled to expire in 2015.

“The pilot program has a proven track record in the original seven [BLM] field offices,” the trade association officials said in their Nov. 25 letter. “At the time of implementation, these existing BLM offices processed nearly 70% of the [drilling permit applications] received by BLM, yet as the industry changes and new plays attract investment, that framework has grown too rigid.

“This legislation provides greater flexibility to ensure that funding is allocated according to actual activity levels in specific regions,” they told Boehner.

The letter was signed by the respective presidents of the American Petroleum Institute, Independent Petroleum Association of America, American Exploration & Production Council, Western Energy Alliance, and US Oil & Gas Association. They were joined by senior vice-presidents of the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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