A new report from a New Orleans-based group reveals that the Obama administration is approving just 35 percent of the oil drilling plans for the Gulf of Mexico so far this year. It is also taking an average of 115 days — nearly four months — to secure approval from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.
Those numbers contrast sharply from previous years. This historical average is a 73.4% approval rate. The approval time has nearly doubled; the historical average is 61 days for the government to approve plans.
For plans that require drilling activity, the numbers are even worse. New regulations require all deepwater drilling plans to undergo an environmental assessment process. Those plans have an average approval time of 222 days or more than seven months.
The data were included in the latest release of the Gulf Permit Index from Greater New Orleans Inc. It has monitored this trend since last year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The delays have continued for more than 18 months later.
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