The U.S. Forest Service is focused on accelerating the permitting process for oil and gas development in the 44 national forests where drilling is authorized, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Earlier this month, the Forest Service announced plans to revise “outdated and inefficient regulations for oil and gas resources” on national forest lands. The plan was undertaken to clear a backlog of nearly 2,000 pending Expressions of Interest to acquire oil and gas leases. The pending leases involve nearly 2 million acres of national forest lands.

Streamlining the permit process would make possible “quicker leasing decisions” for oil and gas developers who sometimes wait five to 10 years for final leasing decisions to be made under existing rules.

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