The House Wednesday passed H.R. 767, authored by Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), amending the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to make technical corrections to a program known as the Federal Permit Streamlining Pilot Project (Pilot Project). The Pilot Project granted 7 BLM offices, including two in Wyoming, additional resources to manage the heavy workload associated with energy development in their areas.

Included in the legislation passed was an amendment offered by U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo) that grants the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Wyoming limited flexibility to allocate existing funds originally available only to the Buffalo Field Office. This limited flexibility would grant the BLM the ability to move funds between the three offices in the High Plains District (Buffalo, Casper, and Newcastle) according to the specific needs of each office.

Rep. Lummis said when the Pilot Project was passed, the backlog in the Buffalo Field Office was enormous. Today, Buffalo’s needs have reduced somewhat, while the demands on the Casper office are skyrocketing thanks to oil and gas development in Converse County. she said royalties from Wyoming’s minerals alone more than pays for the entire BLM budget, yet offices in the state receive back only a tiny fraction. she added that congress must devise ways to return more resources to every BLM office with high energy permitting demands.