24 May 2017

Prosperity for Bureaucrats


Following a round of minor health issues, a late spring snowstorm and assorted miscellaneous distractions, the Policysmith’s attention was drawn back to issues of the day.  But first a note and a tip of the chapeau to Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip.   On Sunday May 14, Mr. Adams lampooned the climate science “community” and its self-congratulatory demeanor while skewering the “scientific methodology” employed to guess climate long into the future.

Shared from Dilbert.com. Source link: http://dilbert.com/strip/2017-05-14

Shared from Dilbert.com. Source link: http://dilbert.com/strip/2017-05-14


Back to business, a press report in May observed that the Bureau of Land Management is running a backlog of oil and gas permits to drill of more than 3,000 applications, or APDs as they are known in the business.

For the uninitiated, these are a primary bureaucratic hoop oil and gas operators must jump through before a well is ever drilled.  States issue permits for wells to be drilled on private land or state-owned lands.  Historically state permits are issued somewhere within 10 to 30 days by the oil and gas permitting authority in the individual state.  No muss, no fuss.  Producing states typically have minimal or no backlogs.

Timely permits expedite and streamline planning for engaging drilling rigs, completion crews, pipeline hookups and product sales.  In states with large federal land holdings – Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado and Montana.  Permits are required by both the state and the BLM if the well is planned for federal acreage.

The rub comes when federal permits take upwards of a year to be issued.  The litany of excuses is impressive – understaffed, underfunded, incomplete application, NEPA deficiencies and so on.  There must be a federal permit issued even when the federal government owns none of the surface.  If the wellbore is to penetrate ANY portion of the federal mineral estate, a federal permit is required.  Thus, the backlog of 3,000+ permits likely contains a goodly number of projects with zero federal surface and a small percentage of the minerals.

Expediting permits would increase royalties to the federal treasury and relieve the BLM staff of a paperwork burden – and the best way to do so is for the BLM to honor the state permit as valid for the federal minerals as well.  Such a solution was presented to the Director of the BLM in the previous administration.  Perhaps federal ownership of zero surface and 20 percent or less of the minerals might be a workable formula for the BLM, agreed Mr. Director?

The response was literally a laugh-out-loud, a guffaw, if you will.  “We would NEVER relinquish that authority – EVER!!” So, the fiefdom is the driver, not streamlining, not paperwork relief, no increased or expedited cashflow to the treasury.  In the grasping bureaucracy, efficiency be damned, authority and primacy forever!  Until now –

In upcoming posts, we’ll examine bureaucratic fiefdoms and the lengths to which they overstep, advance personal agendas and generally wreak havoc in the name of “protecting” the public.




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