published on July 6, 2017 - 2:00 PM
Written by Associated Press

(AP) — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is pushing for more oil and gas development on federal lands with faster permitting and more frequent sales of drilling rights.

Zinke signed an order Thursday requiring federal oil and gas lease sales be held in each state at least quarterly. Sales lately are occurring less often than that.

The move could end a lawsuit filed by a petroleum group. The Denver-based Western Energy Alliance says four times a year is the minimum required by law, but the group might be willing to settle depending on how the order is carried out.

Zinke’s order also calls for faster and more efficient oil and gas permitting to clear a backlog of federal drilling permits.

Environmentalists criticize Zinke’s order as a giveaway to oil and gas interests.

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