Since it’s taking such a long time to issue permits for oil and gas exploration, why not make it law?
Congress is using the continuing resolution (CR) to triple the amount of time the federal government spends reviewing exploration plans, from 30 days to 90 days, which effectively codifies the permit-orium that we have seen since the BP oil spill. Maybe the oil and gas industry should be cracking champagne bottles, since 90 days is less than the current (de facto) level, more than 180 days.
Senators Mary Landrieu (D., La.) and Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) call the increase in time “unnecessary” in a letter objecting to that section of the CR. “Unnecessary” doesn’t even begin to describe it. Extending the government’s statutory review period is a reckless, politicized policy, an attempted hand-holding for the Gulf’s struggling economy with no legitimate reason behind it.
Yes, an oil spill occurred. People have not forgotten it. It’s easy from a PR standpoint to say we need newer and tougher regulations and a longer review process to prevent such catastrophes. But even shortly after the spill, seven experts from National Academy of Engineering said that a blanket moratorium was not the answer, that it would not significantly reduce the risks of offshore drilling, and that it would punish the innocent. The administration’s ban went forward anyway, punishing deepwater and shallow-water drillers.
Now, with tightened rules on offshore drilling, regulators have been quick to blame the drillers. It’s true that companies had difficulty figuring out the intricacies of the new rules. But that excuse won’t hold water any longer: The International Energy Agency reports that drilling requests are increasing.