Less red tape, improved speed on oil-and-gas permits? Ok, let’s see it

posted at 9:21 pm on February 13, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Sorry to barrage you with the tiresome train wreck of platitudes that was President Obama’s State of the Union address last night, but this little fact-check nugget just caught my attention and you know I can’t let it go without commenting.

Now, four years ago, other countries dominated the clean-energy market and the jobs that came with it. And we’ve begun to change that. Last year, wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let’s generate even more. Solar energy gets cheaper by the year. Let’s drive down costs even further. As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy, so must we. Now, in the meantime, the natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. We need to encourage that. That’s why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits.

(APPLAUSE)

That’s got to be part of an all-of-the-above plan. But I also want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our air and our water. In fact, much of our newfound energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together.

Yes, there is a bunch of pent-up energy just waiting to be tapped from the lands and waters that we, the public, own together — but President Obama has been talking a big game on an “all of the above” energy plan for awhile now, without a lot of meaningful action in terms of oil and gas. If the president is serious about substantively speeding up new oil-and-gas permits and removing red tape, then awesome, let’s allow Americas to have out those public assets you mentioned; but you’ll understand if I’m skeptical, seeing as how some of the Obama administration’s biggest ‘accomplishments’ have been adding regulatory impediments to our domestic energy industry. As the House Natural Resources Committee pointed out today:

Under President Obama’s leadership, it has taken on average 30 percent longer, compared to the previous four years, to approve new drilling permits.

The Obama Administration is playing fast and loose with the facts by obfuscating the difference between the lengths of time it takes BLM to complete an APD with the total time an APD takes to be approved. In fact, President Obama has added new burdensome regulations, which has bogged down energy producers in mounds of new red tape and paperwork, increasing their average processing time by 76 percent (see chart).

If President Obama wants to see how APDs should be approved, he needs to look no further than the state of North Dakota, which has increased their oil production by nearly 800% and can approve permits to drill in 10 days rather than 307.

This is just the latest example of how the Obama Administration is misleading the American people and being disingenuous about their desire for increased energy production on federal lands.

I’m kinda’-sorta’ semi-hopeful that the Obama administration will start exercising more relatively lenient permitting habits than most of what we saw throughout his first term and let Americans take fuller advantage of that cleaner energy and greater energy independence he so magnanimously acknowledged, but there is no doubt that they have definitely added red tape at the expense of both clamoring companies and taxpayer resources — and did anybody else notice how he called for the reintroduction of a cap-and-trade bill, without actually saying those distasteful words? Sneaky.

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday pressed Congress to pass a cap-and-trade bill on greenhouse gas emissions, warning that he may use his executive powers to impose pollution controls if the legislature does not act.

He also said in his State of the Union address that he would speed up approval of new oil and gas drilling permits, and proposed that the US use some of its oil and gas revenue to fund alternative fuels research.

“I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago,” he said, referring to two senators who have three times in the last decade proposed bills — none of which passed — that would have capped carbon emissions but allowed open-market trading of emissions allowances.


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