National average gas price today: $3.90 per gallon.
Last week, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar conducted a tour of booming oil production facilities in North Dakota and announced that his department would finally move its permitting process online, a move that industry has been requesting for years. Just how lengthy and slow-moving is the current system? “The changes will move the Bureau of Land Management, the agency responsible for oil and gas production on federal onshore lands, into the digital age by automating permitting and leasing decisions. Today, those negotiations are done on paper, and the back-and-forth has resulted in permits taking on average 298 days to approve.”
Finally, it won’t take nearly a year to approve a permit or lease! Let’s get out there and start drilling, baby, drilling, and… hey, when will the new system be in place?
“The new system, which is expected to be in full operation by May 2013.”
Oil and natural gas producers like the Independent Petroleum Producers of America are… underwhelmed, it would seem: “Although IPAA realizes that making changes to the current antiquated system may take some time, we hope your agency could make these changes in less than a year. Reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens and eliminating inefficiencies in government bureaucracy was a key part of President Obama’s announcement last month regarding the need to implement smarter, cost-justified regulations.”