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Health, Science & Environment

Zinke Targets Oil And Gas Backlog

Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to make it easier and quicker for fossil fuel companies to drill on federal land. 

"We’re not going to be an adversary to creating wealth and opportunity on some of our public lands," he said Thursday during a call with the media.

Zinke is ordering the Bureau of Land Management to hold lease sales at least four times a year in oil and gas states. And his staff will work toward approving permits in 30 days. Last year, permits took an average of 257 days to process.

The bureau’s field offices in Wyoming, Utah and North Dakota have some of the highest backlogs of pending permits. The Vernal, Utah, BLM field office had a backlog of 509 applications to drill, the Interior Department said.

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