Walsh, Tester fight to keep oil and gas permitting office open in in Montana

(U.S. SENATE) – Senators John Walsh and Jon Tester are fighting to keep the oil and gas pilot permitting office open in Montana by sponsoring the bipartisan Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Permit Processing Improvement Act of 2014. The successful pilot project has allowed the BLM to set up satellite offices and streamline the permitting process. The bill will extend the pilot project’s authorization and apply its lessons to other states around the country.

BLM currently has a satellite office in Miles City where landowners and tribal nations can work with staff to permit oil and gas leases on federal land.

“The local office has been a great resource for developers in eastern Montana, and it should remain open,” Walsh said. “Streamlining the permitting process is proving to be a win-win: responsible development of Montana’s natural resources while supporting Montana’s small businesses and entrepreneurs.”

“This pilot project helps create jobs in eastern Montana while ensuring we’re developing our natural resources responsibly,” said Tester. “Keeping the Miles City office open will offer greater certainty for developers by providing more resources to process permitting applications in a timely and thorough manner.”

Montanans are supportive of Walsh’s efforts to preserve the Miles City streamlined permitting office:

“The Montana Petroleum Association is pleased that Congress is continuing a program that has worked well in Montana,” said Dave A. Galt, Executive Director, Montana Petroleum Association. “We are also pleased to see that Montana’s entire Congressional delegation supports this important bill.”

4,472 oil and gas permits were awarded in 2013 on BLM land, with 3,392 at pilot offices. Without congressional action, the pilot office in Miles City will close its doors on September 30, 2015.