House Panel Rips Obama Over Drilling Permits
The House Natural Resources Committee has issued a statement lambasting the Obama administration for dragging its feet in issuing permits for oil and gas drilling on federal lands.
According to the committee’s statement, it takes the Bureau of Land Management an average of 307 days to process a permit to drill, nearly twice as long as the 154 days it took in 2005.
In Colorado, it takes just 27 days to approve a permit on state and private lands, and in North Dakota, just 10 days.
To put the federal delay into perspective, the committee claimed that in 307 days, a person can drive from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles 154 times, watch the movie “Die Hard” 3,349 times, or hike the entire Appalachian Trail — twice.
“President Obama has touted that U.S. oil and natural gas production is at its highest levels in years, but he’s only telling half the story,” according to the committee’s statement.
“The recent increase in U.S. oil and gas production can all be attributed to state and private lands — not federal.”
Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., said: “The Obama administration’s federal energy policies are costing American jobs, impeding economic growth and recovery, and robbing the U.S. Treasury of much needed revenue to help us balance our budget.
“We’ve seen how energy production on state lands can create new jobs … [and] ease the pain of high gasoline prices. So why is the Obama administration refusing to take the same steps as the states to develop these resources?”
The statement was issued following an April 17 oversight hearing. One witness at the hearing, Utah Lt. Gov. Gregory S. Bell, noted that “state and federal permits require similar regulatory and engineering reviews, so it is hard to understand why a federal permit should take four times as long to be issued.”
Bell concluded: “The status quo of federal overreach is simply unacceptable.”
Texas Land Commissioner Jerry E. Patterson also appeared as a witness and said: “The states lead the way in leasing, permitting, drilling and most important, the production of oil and gas. This administration should look to the states and follow their lead if we are to become energy independent. Sadly, federal policies hamper the development of vitally needed energy.”
Back in February, President Obama said in his State of the Union address that his administration has been actively working to speed up the permitting process: “That’s why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits.”
The committee responded at the time: “Facts are stubborn things, and that statement simply is not true.”