The nation’s biggest oil and natural gas groups offered cautious praise for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's announcement on Tuesday that his department will implement new tracking systems designed to cut by two-thirds the time it takes to permit oil and natural gas projects on public lands.
The new system will enable the Bureau of Land Management, the agency that manages public lands, to reduce the review time to 60 days—which industry groups claim is almost 300 days right now.
“We’re glad that BLM is taking such positive steps to decrease regulatory time lines, which for many years have created extreme uncertainty for companies trying to produce American energy from federal lands and create jobs,” said Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of Government & Public Affairs at the Western Energy Alliance.
A lobbyist with the American Petroleum Institute was more muted.
“Today’s announcement sounds promising but additional reforms are needed,” said Erik Milito, upstream director at API. “We support any system that will ensure efficiency and a clear, consistent application process.”
Both Sgamma and Milito urged Interior to streamline the environmental review process—a more controversial action the administration seems unlikely to take.