GOP sees major energy road blocks

June 27, 2011 at 12:35 PM

WASHINGTON, June 27 (UPI) -- A plan to join U.S. federal resources to address potential air quality issues tied to domestic energy production is a burden, a critic said.

A memorandum of understanding among the Interior and Agriculture Departments and the Environmental Protection Agency aims to coordinate evaluation of air pollution from oil and natural gas development on federal land.

The Interior Department said the memorandum would cut down on the delays that could result from conflicting reviews from all three agencies.

But U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, said the decision created even more bureaucracy in the U.S. federal government.

"Increased government involvement is rarely ever the solution and (President Barack Obama's) long anti-energy record only adds to the uncertainty," he said in a statement. "(My) committee will ask serious questions about what new burdens and changes will come as a result of this MOU and its impacts on job creation and American energy production."

The Interior Department counters that coordinating activity under one effort will make the approval process easier.

"We want to build on lessons learned to establish clearer lines of communication and a predictable, common sense process for ensuring prompt and thorough reviews of proposed oil and gas projects," said Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes in a statement.

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