Obama to fast-track permits for green energy, no mention of oil and gas permits

February 21, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

 AP Photo  

The Obama administration announced Wednesday its new new economic plan to pump more tax dollars into infrastructure projects and cut federal permitting timelines, including permitting times for renewable projects.

“The [a]dministration’s infrastructure permitting initiative has shown that we can cut federal review and permitting timelines for construction projects such as highway, bridges, railways, ports, waterways, pipelines, and renewable energy by several months to several years,” according to the White House.

“This modernization effort will achieve time savings of 50 percent in the federal permitting and review process, while ensuring projects create better outcomes for communities and the environment,” said the White House statement.

However, the announcement makes no mention of fast-tracking permits for oil and natural gas drilling on federal lands — a promise the president made during President ’s State of the Union Address.

Obama promised to focus on building up the country’s infrastructure in order to create jobs and grow the economy, as well as continue to promote using renewable energy sources like wind and solar. The president also promised to cut the red tape and speed up the issuance of oil and gas permits on federal lands — something he came under fire for during the election.

“And that’s why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits,” he said. “That’s got to be part of an all-of-the-above plan.”

Obama has already heard from critics who charge that he has favored renewable energy production on federal lands at the expense of oil and gas exploration.

“He’s just putting us on the highway to hell,” Daniel Kish, senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “His plan to increase the price of electricity is going to be expedited by him permitting deployment of more of this which gets forced into our electrical system and bumps out the stuff that’s more affordable.”

IER reported that oil production on federal lands fell 11 percent from 2010 to 2011, claiming it was mainly due to the Obama administration’s offshore drilling moratorium.

The Obama administration announced in August that it would fast-track large solar and wind projects on federal lands. And in November, the Interior Department closed off 1.6 million acres to oil and gas exploration that was originally slated for shale development.

The number of new oil and gas leases issued each year has fallen since 2009

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