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A petroleum industry group is trying to speed along federal drilling permits by paying the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to hire temporary staff and cover overtime expenses to process them. The manager of the BLM's Casper Field Office, Joe Meyer, says applications for drilling permits have more than doubled in the past couple years. He says the Casper BLM office is hiring contract employees through a local temp agency. The Petroleum Association of Wyoming is paying for those workers through the temp agency.
Association President Bruce Hinchey says the costs will be at least $100,000. Meyer says neither the association nor any company is involved in hiring the workers and there is no way for the petroleum association to exert improper influence.