The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included The bipartisan BLM Permit Processing Improvement Act of 2014.

The bipartisan bill, which passed the Senate by unanimous consent on September 16, 2014, was subsequently included as section 3021 of the NDAA. The Act extends a pilot program from the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which has helped the BLM reduce a backlog of oil and gas permit applications and streamline the permitting process in BLM offices in Farmington and Carlsbad, N.M., and Rawlins and Casper, WY, and other states.

Our local BLM offices play a vital role in making sure Wyoming remains a leading energy producing state. With today’s vote, these offices will now have the resources they need to ensure oil and gas permits are processed in a timely manner,” said Senator John Barrasso.

The NDAA passed the House of Representatives on December 4, and following today’s vote, is headed to the President’s desk for his signature.

Authorization and funding for the pilot program is set to expire next year on September 30, 2015. The BLM Permit Processing Improvement Act permanently reauthorizes the pilot program and provides the Interior Secretary with greater flexibility to designate additional pilot offices based on shifting oil and gas production trends.

In addition, the Act sets a $9,500 fee (indexed to inflation), to take effect in FY 2016, for applications for permits to drill (APDs) and mandates that at least 75 percent of revenues collected from the APD fees remain with the BLM offices in the states where the APDs were submitted. Finally, the Act prohibits the Secretary from raising the APD fee through a rulemaking.