The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Limbaugh Lambasts the Interior Department

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted January 15, 2010

I never listen to the radio during the day, but yesterday I made an exception when blogger Bob McCarty alerted me to Rush Limbaugh's comments about the Interior Department's new rules on oil and natural gas drilling on federal lands.

Limbaugh pointed out that Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.) sent a blistering letter to Interior Sec. Ken Salazar on Jan. 7, repudiating him for his characterization of the small companies that drill for oil and natural gas. Boren took offense at Sec. Salazar's reference to drillers as the "kings of the world" during a recent conference call with reporters.

Boren said, "This kind of statement is beyond the pale when thousands of Oklahomans and people from other energy-producing states are losing their jobs due to the recession...The energy industry is overwhelmingly made-up of independent producers that drill 90 percent of the wells in the U.S...And quite frankly, they consider this brand of rancor as a slap in the face...."

Similarly, Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal took Sec. Salazar to task for handing control of oil and natural gas production "to the whims of those that profess a 'nowhere, not ever' philosophy" toward drilling. In a letter to Sec. Salazar, the governor said the Interior Department is proposing to add additional layers of analysis to the leasing process at a time when the Department needs to "get moving" on 2,000 leased parcels that have been waiting for a decision since June 2008. He added that the Department's delay is holding up about $26 million in state revenues.

"This involves families and jobs, schools and care for those on Medicaid--all at a time when our national and local economy is faltering," the governor wrote.

Rush Limbaugh had his own message to the Interior Department. "You guys say you want energy independence and you're killing the small business men and women in oil and gas production in this country who are trying to help you achieve that. It's on purpose, I'm telling you, folks, it's on purpose."

The oil and natural gas industry directly employs or supports 9.2 million American workers. If it were allowed to drill in energy-rich, non-park areas controlled by the government, it could create thousands of new jobs, generate revenues to pay for much needed services, and reduce the federal deficit. And no stimulus plan would be required.

To listen to Limbaugh's comments, click here for his Thursday, Jan. 14 radio show. Limbaugh discusses the new drilling rules during the second hour of the program.

Hat tip to Bob McCarty.