Utah could have generated more than $6.5  billion from oil and gas development on federal land holdings if not for federal regulations blocking development, according to a new study by the Sutherland Institute.

New drilling permits from the Bureau of Land Management took 307 days on average during 2011, up from 212 days in 2008, the study said.

The state also missed out on 58,000 jobs, the study said, because of delays in oil and gas permitting.

The study was conducted by University of Wyoming economics professor Timothy Considine.

His past work has been criticized for an alleged pro-industry bias, the Salt Lake Tribune said.

More than 8,000 oil and gas wells are now producing on federal and tribal land in Utah as off March this year, state authorities said.

And nearly 2,900 approved permits to drill on federal lands have been granted but not acted on, the Salt Lake Tribune said.

They are concerned that bureaucracy and red tape are making investment opportunities in Utah less attractive as compared with non-public lands states,” Cody Stewart, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s energy adviser, told a legislative panel Wednesday. In the last three years only 47 parcels have been competitively leased versus 628 in the three years prior. Unless something changes we are setting ourselves up for some lean years in the future.


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