Nov. 19, 2010 05:13 PM
President Obama has his new budget director confirmed and Sen. Mary Landrieu has a renewed commitment from the Obama administration that they will be more expedient in issuing offshore drilling permits.

President Obama has his new budget director confirmed and Sen. Mary Landrieu has a renewed commitment from the Obama administration that they will be more expedient in issuing offshore drilling permits.

Landrieu had held up the confirmation of Jacob Lew to protest the Interior Department's drilling moratorium. She maintained her stance even after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar officially lifted the moratorium on Oct. 13, citing oil industry complaints that the permitting process was still gridlocked. The Times Picayune reports that Landrieu acquiesced after having three meetings with Salazar in the past 24 hours and receiving assurances about new permits moving forward. She said in the past two weeks, six permits have been issued in the Gulf and she has been told more will be approved in the coming weeks.

"Tonight I received a commitment from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to provide certainty and regulatory clarity to an industry that has operated in the dark for months with shifting rules," Landrieu said. "The secretary will come to Louisiana on Monday to meet with industry and express the administration's support for the oil and gas industry. He will outline the path forward so that permits will be issued and the people of Louisiana can get back to work in this vital industry. Given this commitment," she said, "I released my hold, so that Jack Lew can get to work balancing the federal budget and putting this country back on a path of fiscal discipline."