Obama’s Department Of The Interior Flip-Flops On Oil And Gas Permitting

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President Obama’s Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, was in North Dakota this week to talk about oil and gas permitting. In fact, along side ND Senators Kent Conrad and John Hoeven as well as Rep. Rick Berg, Salazar announced that the Obama administration would be streamlining the permitting process for oil and gas developers looking to tap resources on federal lands.

“As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, Interior is committed to expanding safe and responsible oil and gas development on public lands and Indian trust lands,” Salazar said, adding that the plan will cut down the time it takes the department to review drilling permit applications “significantly.”

Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said it will implement an “automated tracking system” that will make it easier for the agency to communicate with applicants for onshore drilling permits. BLM said the new system will reduce the amount of time it takes to review the applications by two-thirds. The system is slated to be in place by May 2013, according to BLM.

That’s all well and good, assuming this is a sincere effort to change policy, but as Sean Hackbarth points out, the Obama administration has been roadblocking this initiative since they took office:

According to minority staff of the Senate Energy Committee, Section 365 of the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005 created a pilot program to streamline the oil and gas drilling permit process (see text below). The law names locations of the BLM field offices that house the pilot program, one being in Carlsbad, New Mexico. We’ll get to that in a moment.

The administration hasn’t been a fan of the program. In budget requests for fiscal years 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010, it asked Congress to repeal the program

Plus, as I’ve pointed out before, while overall domestic oil and gas production is up, it’s actually down on lands managed by the federal government, specifically the Obama administration.

Again, assuming this shift in policy announced by Salazar is sincere, it’s certainly a departure from the hostility the Obama administration has born toward oil and gas development on federal lands to date.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

    He’s all hat and no energy!

  • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

    And did you hear that Obama, the secret Muslim-Marxist, is going to be soft on terrorism?

    • Jfisher17

      I did hear that. Not surprised, though.

    • Tim

       It’s not a secret.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      You do know that Obamas hostility to oil and gas development is a demonstrable fact.

      • $8194357

        He sure likes those Russians tho…
        After the election he is going to take care of missle defense….

  • mikemc1970

    I’m calling liar. There is no way Obama is ideologically capable of this. It is an election year stunt. Where he plans to pull the rug out from anyone stupid enough fall for his BS, when he gets reelected (yeah right).

    • $8194357

      Lucy and Charlie Brown ride again…

  • DopeyDem

    Streamlining the process is code for getting to no faster. 

  • cherz1967

    I call bullshit.

  • http://randysroundtable.blogspot.com/ Randy G

    The problem is the same from all the Presidents men…Their lips are moving.

    • $8194357

      Dead center…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001934604826 Energy Tomorrow

    Rob,

     

    You’re right — assuming this is a sincere shift in policy,
    it is very different from what we’ve seen since this administration took office.
    While calling for an “all of the above” energy policy, the Obama administration
    has basically been pursuing an “off-oil” policy. We recently produced an
    infographic that shows how the administration’s oil strategy has contributed to
    rising fuel costs. Take a look when you have a chance: http://energytomorrow.org/blog/the-presidents-actions-and-rising-prices/#/type/all

     

    Mark, EnergyTomorrow.org

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Willis-Forster/100002880371309 Willis Forster

    I will gladly pay for a hamburger next year if you give me the hamburger and your vote today as wimpy the popeye cartoon character might say or then there is is pop song “promises, promises”. Remember the $500 billion they were going to save by eliminating fraud in medicare if obamacare passed.

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