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  • Government Speeds Permitting for Wind Farms as Gulf Drilling Continues to Lag

    Just one day after meeting with the oil and gas industry in Houma, La., last week, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar unveiled the Obama administration’s “Smart from the Start” initiative to speed up the permitting process. Only this wasn’t permitting for offshore oil drilling, but wind farms off of the East Coast.

    “To fully harness the economic and energy benefits of our nation’s vast Atlantic wind potential,” Salazar said, “we need to implement a smart permitting process that is efficient, thorough, and unburdened by needless red tape.”

    If only Salazar would apply this regulatory philosophy to offshore drilling, then perhaps the Gulf Coast region’s economy could begin to recover.

    Just one new deepwater drilling permit has been approved since the administration’s drilling moratorium was lifted in October — a sharp decline compared to one year ago.

    Last week GNO Inc., an economic development agency serving the 10-parish New Orleans region, released its third installment of the Gulf Permit Index detailing the issuance of permits since the ban was lifted. Even though the moratorium has ended, the index shows little progress on pending permits.

    Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement Director Michael Bromwich came to Houma last week to discuss challenges facing the industry. But many industry leaders left the meeting unsatisfied and complained that a “de facto” moratorium still existed.

    “This week’s announcement … shed no new light on the stalls in permit issuance,” said to Gregory Rusovich, chairman of the Business Council of Greater New Orleans and the River Region. “Jobs in southeastern Louisiana remain at risk until the federal government opens up the permitting process.”

    Despite the federal moratorium only being aimed at deepwater drilling, shallow-water permits have also declined over the last three months. The average is just four per month, a 44 percent decline from this time last year.

    Jim Noe, executive director of the Shallow Water Energy Coalition, on Monday wrote in the Washington Times: “Perhaps the most fundamental problem plaguing the permitting process is the agency’s continued insistence on painting the entire industry with one broad brush, ignoring fundamental, scientific distinctions between offshore operations – natural gas versus oil drilling; shallow versus deep water.”

    Safety concerns for delaying permit issuance is difficult for industry leaders to understand with no major incident in shallow-water drilling since 1949 and only 15 barrels of oil spilled in blowouts during the last 15 years.

    BOEMRE, the agency that issues offshore drilling permits, is enforcing new requirements for obtaining permits, but those requirements — such as the Interim Drilling Safety Rule — lack clarity for the industry as no one knows if those regulations will change. Also these new requirements lack an accompanying increase in BOEMRE staff to administer them, increasing the time needed to complete the permit review process.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Government Speeds Permitting for Wind Farms as Gulf Drilling Continues to Lag

    1. Bobbie says:

      Everything this administration does, is nothing but a set-up for a crisis.

      American people should reevaluate the government's claim that the natural substance of oil and it's man-made use is creating climate change! What they are saying is man is more powerful than nature. Of course nature proves them wrong every time, they are unwilling to accept reality. Government wants confusion, crisis and everybody elses cash.

    2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Government Speeds Permitting for Wind Farms as Gulf Drilling Continues to Lag | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News. -- Topsy.com

    3. Jim of FL says:

      Bobbie is correct. No matter what issue you look at, Obama spends as much as possible, preferable on inefficient job killing programs which will ultimately raise taxes, kill the economy, devalue our money, and set the mood for revolutionary changes.

      I am in FL where they keep trying to push a stupid High Speed Train on us, that will leave us in debt forever. (Imagine a high tech Amtrak, with stations like futuristic Taj Mahals, all protected by TSA! Yikes!) Referendums have failed in many counties, but the gov sales people always regroup, and try to think of ways to sneak it past us. (The next effort is to get FL legislature to create "super-regions" where they can meander the boundaries to get their votes.)

      What policy has Obama pushed that has not harmed the US? Obamacare, TARP, GM takeover, gulf moratorium, killing NASA, pushing railroads, pushing global warming?

      Every county and every state in the US is in debt!

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