The boom in natural gas production has been sweeping the nation for nearly a decade now, with millions of jobs created and countless dollars saved in energy costs. Economies have benefited and our national security has been strengthened through our utilization of the natural resources beneath our feet, but there has been a major player largely absent from this process – the federal government.
Most natural gas production in the United States has come off of privately owned land, or land from individual states. While President Trump has demonstrated strong support for the natural gas industry, the previous administration made great efforts to circumvent the law and prevent the federal government from getting involved. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is changing this, however.
Under the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), permit applications for exploring or drilling natural gas on federal lands are to be reviewed within 30 days. In 2016 the average time was 257 days. Secretary Zinke signed an order recently directing the BLM to expedite this process, finally bringing some efficiency to a process that has hindered our ability to expand and use the natural resources at our disposal for so long.
Finally allowing exploring and drilling on federal lands opens up a new realm of possibility for American infrastructure. Expanding our production will lead to greater investment in energy infrastructure projects, create even more jobs, and benefit local economies that need a boost.
We’re happy to see concrete action finally being taken on such an important topic. Removing restrictions on natural gas production is a tremendous step, and the GAIN coalition is excited for the benefits to come. Infrastructure, jobs, lower heating costs, a stronger national security, and a higher position on the international energy stage are just some of the benefits this move will bring.