According to Rigzone news, the Bureau of Land Management is revising its application and permitting process for drilling on BLM land:
As part of its implementation of President Bush’s National Energy Policy and to enhance U.S. energy security, the Bureau of Land Management announced fundamental new management strategies aimed at improving the Agency’s processing of applications for permits to drill oil and gas. The new approaches advance the President’s goal of strengthening America’s energy security while giving the BLM, oil and gas producers, and all Americans more effective environmental analyses and less bureaucratic application processing.
The moves described in the article are likely to reduce transaction costs, which is a good thing overall. It’s still obnoxiously bureaucratic, and there are much more efficient mechanisms for allocating drilling rights, but as with most policy moves we have to applaud the baby steps.