Sen. Murkowski praises secretarial order on drilling permits

Published on July 12, 2017 by Daily Energy Insider Reports

Lisa Murkowski

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) recently issued a statement applauding Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s secretarial order directing the Department to hold regular onshore oil and gas leasing sales and reduce delays in permitting procedures.

“After years of bureaucratic delay that held back and halted critical projects, this order is yet more good news for our efforts to refill the Trans-Alaska Pipeline,” Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, said. “Although Secretary Zinke is only seeking to do what the law requires, that will be a monumental improvement compared to recent years. I strongly support his work to restore access to our federal lands and efficiency to the permitting process.”

The Mineral Leasing Act requires the Department to hold regular leasing sales, but in 2016, it cancelled or delayed 11 sales. The law also requires a decision on Applications for Permits to Drill (APDs) within 30 days, but the average time to process an APD in 2016 was 257 days.

The order could be beneficial to oil and gas development in the 23 million acre National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Zinke has also announced that the Department will review the current Integrated Activity Plan (IAP), which restricts access to half of the acreage in the reserve.