The Obama administration wants Congress to shorten the time energy companies have to start drilling on public lands.
The request made to Congress Tuesday by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is part of a strategy to boost oil and gas production even though it wouldn't have any effect on high gasoline prices.
Over the weekend, President Barack Obama announced a series of initiatives to speed up drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, on Alaska's North Slope and off the Atlantic Coast. Salazar expanded on those plans before a Senate panel.
He said changing the law to allow leases onshore to be shorter than ten years would prompt companies to drill. Currently, 41 million acres of public lands have been leased, but only 12 million acres are producing oil and gas.
©2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.