Posted January 6, 2010
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today announced the imposition of new regulatory hurdles that could slow or prohibit drilling for oil and natural gas on energy-rich federal lands.
In what has become increasingly familiar double-talk from this administration, Sec. Salazar spoke of the importance of domestic oil and natural gas, while making it more difficult to produce this oil and gas, put more Americans back to work and help restore our nation's economy.
Under the guise of offering certainty for investors, Sec. Salazar has taken steps to further delay and limit American energy resources for all Americans.
Since Salazar has taken his position, revenues from federal onshore oil and gas leasing in the five states that make up the Inter-Mountain West (Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) have plummeted over 80 percent, and the amount of total acreage leased by the government has shrunk to the lowest level on record. In Wyoming alone, nearly 70 percent fewer lease acres were issued by the federal government in 2009 than in 2008.
This troubling trend of hobbling companies' ability to develop much-needed domestic energy supplies will not create certainty for investors, as Salazar suggested. Instead it will make America more dependent on foreign energy and continue to constrain government budgets.
About 9.2 million Americans rely on the oil and gas industry for their jobs. By imposing these unnecessary additional hurdles, American jobs will be threatened along with the economic opportunities afforded by oil and gas development.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.