America's 13 original colonies revolted against King George III because among other things, according to our Declaration of Independence , the British sovereign “erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.”
One might easily conclude that George's descendants are now in charge in Washington, based on an examination by the Western Energy Alliance of how the federal government today is suffocating the U.S. energy industry with a flood of red tape and swarms of officious bureaucratic regulators.
In a new report on the “Top Ten Ways the Federal Government is Preventing Onshore Oil and Natural Gas Production,” the WEA lays out in excruciating details why it takes years just to get the bureaucrats in Washington to give the go-ahead to drill a well that may or may not result in the production of oil or natural gas.
Here are the first three of those top 10 ways:
1. Project Approvals: Whether a small project under 50 wells or a large one with thousands, the Department of the Interior (DOI) is simply not approving oil and natural gas projects. Environmental analysis and project approval must occur before companies can even apply for drilling permits. Normally, this process can take over seven years, but companies are currently experiencing indefinite delays.
2. EPA Overreach: Recent EPA expansion imposes excessive, redundant regulatory burdens on oil and natural gas production and introduces high levels of uncertainty. EPA has directly prevented project approvals in the West. EPA overreach is having a chilling effect on energy production, diverting precious time and resources away from energy development and into non?productive regulatory activities.
3. Permitting: Companies are not getting permits to drill in a timely fashion. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) conservatively estimates a 206 day average processing time for permits. Depending on the field office, permits can take over 500 days. Companies cannot start to produce without a permit.
Go here for the other seven.
And if that doesn't leave you wondering how on earth American energy companies ever get a drop of new oil out of the ground, check out this timeline of a permit process that demonstrates the specific steps that can require as much as 14 years between the time a company buys a lease on a piece of federal land and the first production.