The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Doing Nothing is Not a Solution

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted December 18, 2009

As we approach the end of year, it's time to take stock of 2009 and pause long enough in our holiday preparations to look forward to 2010. While none of us can predict the future--my snow globe doesn't double as a crystal ball--there are three organizations that have made projections of oil demand in the coming year.

These forecasts paint a hopeful prognosis for the economy, but also they foreshadow a potential problem for the United States. Rising oil demand could strain the worldwide existing capacity to produce oil, and that could put upward pressure on price. So, what has the United States done to prepare for such an eventuality?

Nothing.

The best way to meet this challenge is to produce more domestic oil and natural gas. Instead, this administration has embarked on a pattern of delay which has prevented several scheduled energy developments to move forward.

  • In February, Interior Secretary Salazar extended the comment period on the 2010-2015 five-year offshore leasing plan by six months and has not taken any additional action.
  • Likewise, the administration has failed to make progress on Lease Sale 220 in offshore Virginia scheduled for 2011. It's estimated that the Sale 220 area could contain 1.14 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 130 million barrels of oil.
  • Sec. Salazar cancelled oil and natural gas leases on 77 parcels of federal lands in Utah, then announced that 60 of them would be removed from development--eight permanently and 52 indefinitely.
  • The administration's fiscal 2010 budget contains at least $80 billion in tax increases on the U.S. oil and natural gas industry. These increases will depress investment in new domestic oil and natural gas projects, weakening the nation's energy security and doing nothing to defray the impact of higher world oil energy prices on America.

Delays and actions that discourage domestic oil and natural gas production are not the answer. It's time to encourage domestic oil and natural gas production to benefit all Americans by raising supply levels, creating well-paying jobs, and improving the nation's energy security.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.