More money requested to cope with Texas oil boom

AUSTIN (AP) - Oil boom advocates and state regulators are seeking emergency government funding to handle an ever-growing backlog of drilling permits.

The Texas Railroad Commission is asking for an emergency appropriation of $750,000 to process permits and reduce bureaucratic delays.

The elected members of the commission on Tuesday are expected to consider the proposal, which calls for requesting the funds from the Legislative Budget Board.

Authorities expect to issue 29,000 permits this year -- an increase of almost 50% from 2007.

Oil industry advocates say they have grown increasingly frustrated with the long waits for government approval to explore at a time of soaring energy prices.

Processing times for regular drilling permits has soared to an average of 40 days, up from a wait of 14-21 days in 2007.