Salazar to comply with court’s ordered timing on drlg permits, but may appeal the Judge’s ruling. #rsrh

Link: Salazar to comply with court’s ordered timing on drlg permits, but may appeal the Judge’s ruling. #rsrh

Clipped from rigzone.com
US Interior to Act on Permits by March Deadline

A U.S. official said Wednesday that the Interior Department will meet a court-imposed deadline to act on five deep-water drilling permit applications before the end of this month.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar also said more permits approvals are coming.

“There are other [permits] that will be issued in the days ahead that will become a template for other deep-water permits to be issued,” Salazar said before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

A federal judge on Feb. 17 ordered the department to act on five pending applications for offshore-drilling permits within 30 days, ruling in favor of London-based Ensco, which had sued the Interior Department.

As Congress considers the Interior Department’s funding levels, Salazar also said his department needs a larger budget to pick up the permitting pace. Without more funding, “we may never return to the pre-Macondo rate of permitting,” Salazar said, referring to the spill at BP’s Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico last year.

The department also indicated it could be challenging the federal judge’s authority to order it to act on permits within a given time frame.

“The judge in this particular case, in my view, is wrong,” said Salazar. “We’ll argue the case because I don’t believe the court has a jurisdiction to basically tell the Department of Interior what my administrative responsibilities are.”

“We are examining our options in terms of an appeal,” Salazar later added.

Read more at rigzone.com

 
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