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Wyoming group demands oil, gas permitting continue if government shuts down

Petroleum Association of Wyoming has demanded the Biden Administration ensure oil and natural gas production permitting continue uninterrupted in case there is a government shutdown.

Pete Obermueller, president of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming. (Petroleum Association of Wyoming)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — The Petroleum Association of Wyoming has demanded the Biden Administration ensure that oil and natural gas production permitting continue uninterrupted in case there is a government shutdown.

The Biden Administration has called the potential federal government shutdown an “Extreme Republican Shutdown” in news releases regarding what would happen with such a disruption. President Joe Biden has posted a video message on X, formerly known as Twitter, here.

The Petroleum Association of Wyoming’s president, Pete Obermueller, said in a letter to two federal officials that the federal government can still ensure maximum amounts of domestic crude oil are produced and processed during political gridlock resulting in a government shutdown.

“As the second largest source of revenue to the federal government, after the IRS, the federal mineral program can fully fund its staffing and operation costs,” Obermueller said in the Sept. 25 letter. “Permitting successfully continued during the 2019 shutdown and any attempt to shutter the program now would be nothing more than Washington political theater that would harm Wyoming communities.”

Here’s the letter he sent to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deborah Haaland and Bureau of Land Management Director Tracy Stone-Manning:

PAW Vice President and Director of Communications Ryan McConnaughey said this afternoon that the association has not received a response from the Department of Interior or the Bureau of Land Management.

The U.S. Department of the Interior Director of Communications Melissa Schwartz said Sept. 27 that there is no update yet on lapse plans. Any updates will be posted here, under the department’s name.

While the 2019 government shutdown did not stop the operation of the Bureau of Land Management’s federal mineral program, the association has concerns because of the Biden Administration’s actions, McConnaughey said.

“It is up to the administration to determine which government services are deemed essential during a shutdown,” he said. “Given their previous efforts to shut down oil and natural gas development on federal lands we would expect them to take advantage of the government gridlock to hamper the industry even further, despite the impacts it will have on industry employees, Wyoming communities and energy security in America.”

Wyoming’s natural gas and oil industry has contributed more than $2.7 billion in tax revenues, including $1.3 billion directly to Wyoming’s K–12 education system, to the state, the release said.

BLM High Plains District Public Affairs Specialist Tyson Finnicum is out of the office until Oct. 9, according to an automatic email responder.

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