UPDATE: WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–Permitting reviews for offshore drilling wouldn’t stop in the event of a U.S. government shutdown this week, according to a fact sheet about the Interior Department’s contingency plan sent to Interior employees.
The document, obtained Thursday by Dow Jones Newswires, says “most offshore energy development activities, including plan reviews, environmental analysis, permitting, inspection, and enforcement work” would “remain operational” during a government shutdown.
A shutdown could occur if congressional leaders and the Obama administration fail to reach an agreement on funding the government through the end of September.
By contrast, permitting for land-based oil and gas activities wouldn’t continue during a shutdown, the document indicates. Offshore permitting would continue because Interior has other funding available for those operations and does not need a new appropriation from Congress, the document says.
The fact sheet about the contingency plan also says that in the event of a government shutdown, Interior would close national parks, halt reviews of right-of-way applications for electricity transmission lines, and stop federal oversight and regulation of surface coal mining and abandoned mine lands, except for emergencies.
“While we remain hopeful that Congress will take action to avoid a government shutdown, we must also be prepared in case they do not,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar wrote in a letter to Interior employees Thursday.
-By Ryan Tracy, Dow Jones Newswires
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