Spill commission calls for increasing offshore drilling review period

In a move certain to ruffle the oil industry’s feathers, the national oil-spill commission recommended Tuesday that Congress pass legislation extending by 30 days the amount of time the Interior Department has to review offshore drilling exploration applications.

The oil industry and oil-state lawmakers — including Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) — have aggressively pushed back against efforts to extend the time frame, arguing that the extension will further delay offshore drilling in the United States.

But the Interior Department has recommended a longer extension to ensure that applications meet new offshore drilling safety standards. The commission’s recommendation, to extend the review period from 30 to 60 days, represents a compromise on the issue.

A provision to extend the review period to 90 days was removed from a narrow government funding bill approved by the Senate last month.