Interior Secretary Moves To Streamline Oil Permitting On Federal Lands

Jul 7, 2017

A pumpjack extracts oil in North Dakota.
Credit Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced Thursday that he is directing his department to speed up permitting for oil and gas leases on public lands.

Zinke wants to make it easier and quicker for fossil fuel companies to drill on federal land.

"We’re not going to be an adversary to creating wealth and opportunity on some of our public lands," he said on a call with reporters.

Zinke is ordering the Bureau of Land Management to hold lease sales at least four times a year in oil and gas states. This is required under federal law, but recent sales have occurred less frequently.


His staff will work toward approving permits in 30 days, as outlined in the federal Mineral Leasing Act. Last year, permits took an average of 257 days to process.

The bureau’s field offices in North Dakota and Wyoming have some of the highest backlogs of pending permits.