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 Interior to Increase Oil and Gas Leasing

On July 6, 2017, U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed Order No. 3354, which is designed to ensure that DOI consistently holds quarterly oil and gas lease sales as required by the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920. Although the MLA requires quarterly lease sales “for each state where eligible lands are available,” DOI has not consistently met this requirement. The Order also requires DOI personnel to develop “a strategy to process the large number of currently pending permitting applications and improve the permitting process.” While most states issue drilling permits within 60 days of a complete application, DOI permitting can take up to two years. Order 3354 was followed by a July 13, 2017 announcement by Secretary Zinke that DOI will offer 79.5 million acres offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida for leasing