New Mexico oil producers hopeful permitting backlog is eased

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – New Mexico’s oil and gas industry is praising a move by the U.S. Interior Department to streamline permitting for drilling on federal lands.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed an order Thursday calling for faster and more efficient permitting to clear a backlog in Bureau of Land Management offices across the West.

The head of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, Ryan Flynn, testified before Congress last week on the delays and other challenges related to the industry.

He says administrative problems within the Bureau of Land Management cost the state and federal government millions of dollars a day in lost royalties and taxes that could be used for education and other public services.

Flynn says that money is critical as New Mexico grapples with a dwindling budget.