Oil, Gas Producers Commend Senate on Bill to Streamline BLM Energy Permits

Oil, Gas Producers Commend Senate on Bill to Streamline BLM Energy Permits

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate passed by unanimous consent the BLM Permit Processing Improvement Act of 2014 (S. 2440), a bipartisan bill that reauthorizes and makes reforms to a successful BLM pilot project set to expire in 2015.   The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), representing companies that drill 95 percent of the nation’s oil and natural gas wells, is encouraged by the Senate’s action and hopes the House of Representatives will act quickly as well.

IPAA Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Political Affairs Dan Naatz said, “The pilot office project has a proven track record of success over the last ten years and we believe this legislation provides greater flexibility for BLM to respond to new opportunities across federal lands.  Production of oil and natural gas on federal lands benefits the entire nation through new jobs, government revenues and energy security.  Government bureaucracy is resulting in declining oil and natural gas production on federal lands. This bill aims to reverse this trend.”

Authored by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and John Barrasso (R-WY), S. 2440 permanently reauthorizes the Permit Processing Improvement Fund that was part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  This initiative was designed to streamline operations and help the agency deal with a backlog of oil and gas permit applications while balancing other duties.

This legislation seeks to reauthorize and expand the program by providing additional flexibility to the Secretary of the Interior to designate new project offices, accounting for shifting industry priorities as new oil and natural gas plays open up on federal lands.

The legislation is now awaiting action in the House.

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Neal Kirby

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