This week Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke issued a secretarial order to address the disastrous wait time and inefficiencies plaguing the process for receiving permits to produce oil and natural gas on federal land. In 2106 Applications for Permits to Drill (APD) took on average 257 days to process despite the fact that the Department of Interior (DOI) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are statutorily required to process APD requests within 30 days. 

The order issued by Secretary Zinke is a positive step to improve the wait time for APDs and increase support to the offices of the Bureau of Land Management to create more efficiency in the system.

Due to these increased wait times on APDs and the lease sales, oil and natural gas production on federal lands has trekked downwards. During his eight years in office former President Obama repeatedly claimed natural gas production in the U.S. was the highest in the world and surged under his Presidency. 

However, he would be sorely wrong on that issue. During Obamas tenure natural gas production on federal lands saw a 27% decrease in total with an additional 20% decrease in leased acreage. This is not a sign of a “surge” or good natural gas production, this is a loss of jobs, higher energy costs, and pots increases in energy dependence on other countries’ oil and natural gas.

Secretary Zinke’s order is one that could change this for everyday Americans looking for good paying jobs and affordable energy costs that would in turn decrease not just for businesses, but also consumers. 

This news is encouraging to since it shows that this administration, not like its predecessor, is serious about government efficiency and streamlining burdensome red tape that restricts job creation and energy independence.


Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore