March 15, 2022 | Bloomberg Law | 1 minute read

Bracewell’s Ann Navaro recently explained to Bloomberg Law that the oil and gas industry cannot just turn on the tap and start producing oil, despite the Interior Department’s view that there is already plenty of capacity to produce oil and gas from federal lands.

Oil and gas companies are fully able to drill using roughly 9,000 already approved drilling permits on federal lands in addition to obtaining permits for undeveloped oil and gas leases on 12.3 million acres of federal land nationwide, Interior communications director Melissa Schwartz said on March 14.

But there’s no guarantee that oil and gas exists on those leased lands—and even if they did, some leases require a time-consuming environmental review before drilling permits can be issued, Navaro said.

Interior has currently halted new oil and gas leasing following a February court injunction that prevents the agency from using an estimate of the social cost of carbon in its environmental reviews, including those governing oil and gas-related decisions.

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