Parnell proposes changes to how lease sales approved

JUNEAU — Gov. Sean Parnell is proposing changing how the Department of Natural Resources approves oil and gas leases.
Parnell introduced SB59 on Tuesday. In his transmittal letter, he says the measure would help streamline the state’s permitting process.
Currently, he says the department grants lease approval for exploration or development in conjunction with individual plans of operation for a lease or project.
He says separate public notice is required for each approval, often resulting in repetitive approvals within the same geographic area.
He says his proposal would allow the department to comprehensively evaluate exploration and development in a geographical area and define criteria by which specific projects are evaluated and approved.
Approvals would be valid for up to 10 years.
Public notice and the opportunity to comment would be required.