The $1.1 trillion continuing resolution passed by the House Thursday night includes a provision that would increase by 60 days the time the Interior Department has to conduct environmental and safety reviews of proposed offshore-drilling projects.
But the move is facing resistance from drilling-state lawmakers, who argue the extension will further delay offshore permitting...
Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), in a Dec. 7 letter to key members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, panned any effort to lengthen the review period. “[E]xtending the statutory period that BOEM has to review offshore oil and gas exploration plans is unnecessary,” the letter says.
The Hill's write-up concludes with this note:
The House continuing resolution also includes funding to double the number of offshore drilling inspectors.
In light of the economic and environmental devastation caused by the BP/Deep Water Horizon disaster, hiring additional inspectors to ensure the safety and structural integrity of offshore drilling rigs seems to be a pretty sensible move. But if the government is doubling its oversight manpower, tripling the waiting period for the inflated inspection workforce to do its job seems a bit excessive, and, as Senators Landrieu and Murkowski wrote, "unnecessary."