Several Senators voiced concerns about the amount of time it may take to secure regulatory approval for offshore energy development at a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the FY2011 budget request for the Department of the Interior on March 9. Senator Collins was among them, expressing particular concern that MMS may require several environmental impact statements to obtain a lease on federal offshore lands. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar tried to allay fears and explained that a group within the Department of the Interior has been assigned the task of developing a streamlined permitting process. Salazar added that "it's absolutely unacceptable that any government process like this should take three to nine years." A webcast of the hearing is available here.