Interior's Proposed Reorganization Backed by Energy Industry Groups

August 31, 2018

Trade associations representing the oil and natural gas industry expressed support for the Department of Interior (DOI) proposal to reorganize into 12 "unified regions," indicating the move should lead to faster permitting and more efficient regulatory oversight of federal lands it manages.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) each sent letters to DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke while the proposed reorganization was being formulated. Zinke initially discussed the plans in a five-minute video with employees last January, and in a subsequent interview with the Washington Post. Additional details emerged from a memo sent Wednesday to DOI's 70,000 employees.

"We appreciate and support efforts to modernize and reorganize the DOI in order to improve governance, streamline permitting and approvals, and improve coordination of government services so that unnecessary barriers to oil and natural gas development are minimized and eliminated," API CEO Michael Sommers wrote in an Aug. 6 letter to Zinke. "Federal lands hold great promise for continued job growth and government revenue generation, and the DOI's reorganization should be looked upon as an opportunity to pave the way for expanded, long-term and environmentally responsible resource development."

In a separate letter to Zinke on July 19, IPAA's Dan Naatz, senior vice president for government relations, said producers that operate on public lands "face a morass of overlapping regulatory requirements when working on those lands. IPAA strongly supports efforts to improve coordination among bureaus within DOI and with other federal agencies. We also applaud your plans to empower the agency field offices to resolve disputes and be more responsive to the public."

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