CHEYENNE, WY. – In a letter to Department of the Interior Acting Secretary Scott de la Vega, Governor Mark Gordon outlined concerns over de la Vega’s Secretarial Order 3395, which is causing delays in routine approvals for oil and gas companies holding valid drilling permits. Governor Gordon stated the secretarial order’s 60-day pause on new oil and gas authorizations comes “with severe implications that devastate the State of Wyoming’s revenue in the near-term with the potential to spell a long-term blow for our State’s economic wellbeing.”
Contradicting recent comments from the Department of the Interior, Wyoming is experiencing a backlog of actions that would normally be routinely granted by state Bureau of Land Management offices. Instead, those decisions are being shuttled to Interior or BLM headquarters in either Grand Junction or Washington, DC for bureaucratic review, causing unnecessary delays and driving up costs.
“The recent polar vortex is a prime example that we need to be exploring and producing more gas for existing drilling permits, rather than waiting days and weeks to see if a surface drilling pad can be moved to a different location on the lease,” Governor Gordon said. The letter points out that this 60-day pause is not intended to bar existing oil and gas operations, but it does.
Gordon also expressed displeasure with the Interior’s decision to postpone the quarterly oil and gas lease sale scheduled for next month and other decisions based on climate concerns. “It is foolish and counterproductive to pit concern for the environment against quality, good-paying jobs when we know we must have both,” wrote Gordon.
A copy of the letter is attached and can be found here.