Sen. David Vitter wants drilling permits issued faster

07 22, 2012 by The Times-Picayune

Continuing the lengthy battle with the Obama administration over complaints it is still taking too long to approve new drilling permits, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., joined an Indiana Republican last week to propose legislation switching permitting decisions from the Interior Department to the Department of Energy.

"Like seemingly everything else in Washington, our nation's energy policy functions are fragmented through different agencies, causing slowdowns and bureaucratic confusion," Vitter said. "Our bill puts some common sense back in the domestic energy permitting and planning process. In particular, we want to fix the unnecessary bureaucracy and economically crippling actions taken by the Department of Interior -- especially since they failed with the Gulf of Mexico drilling moratorium, produced a wholly inadequate five-year offshore lease plan and still don't want to issue permits."

The administration said that Vitter and other critics are just wrong, that it is approving permits and developing plans to expand domestic oil and gas production after a temporary lapse made necessary by the massive 2010 BP oil spill. The Vitter bill isn't likely to move in the Democratic-controlled Senate.