More Energy Duplicity From Cory Gardner

NOCO5’s Tom Livingston reports:

In response to President Obama potentially tapping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserves to try and reduce the price of gasoline in the U.S., Congressman Corey Gardner has proposed a bill that would require an increase in the oil and gas production under oil and gas leases on Federal lands.

“If we have actually have a draw down of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve of one percent or two percent it means that this president must also present to Congress a plan within 180 days of that decision to tap into it, that increases federal leasing by the same percentage,” Gardner said in a press conference in Mead, CO this morning.

Gardner disagrees with the premise of even tapping into the emergency reserves in the first place saying that those are exactly what they’re for… emergencies…

Gardner says that the reserves are not for political fixes or solutions and that domestic production is the answer to lowering prices.

“Let’s make sure we’re doing what we can in our own backyard to gain our energy independence and create American jobs with American energy,” said Gardner.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? The problem, as Allison Sherry of the Denver paper reported late last week in response to similar allegations from Rep. Cory Gardner, is that oil production on federal lands is already up–13 percent since Obama became president according to the Department of the Interior. Oil imports to the United States are at their lowest percentage since 1995. As we’ve noted several times already, speculation is driving the price of gasoline higher, not scarcity.

Even if that’s all true, wouldn’t it still be a good idea to increase these leases, like Gardner says?

Last summer, The Wilderness Society issued a report called Sitting Pretty on the true state of federal oil and gas leasing–and why new leases won’t bring down consumer energy costs.

[N]ationwide leasing, drilling and production data show the oil and gas industry controlling more than 38 million acres of federal lands ‐ an area larger than Florida, Georgia, or Michigan. Yet, the industry is using far less than one‐half of these lands – controlling 22 million acres of public lands that they are not using for oil and gas production. [Pols emphasis] The oil and gas companies are also holding more than 6,500 idle drilling permits that the BLM has issued during the past few years. Even so, the number of drill rigs operating in the United States is back to pre‐recession levels and nearing a 20‐year high.

According to this report, fully 57%–57%–of federal leases held by the industry have no current development or exploration for oil and gas. Across the nation, over 6,500 unused drilling permits. And the bottom line is, there just isn’t enough drilling capacity in the country to develop the leases the energy industry is already sitting on–let alone a bunch of new ones.

The only thing we can tell you is that Rep. Cory Gardner, whose #1 source of political donations by a wide margin is the very same oil and gas industry, understands how all of this works. The fact is, unused federal energy production leases do have one very important value: as financial leverage for the companies that hold them. If there’s no capacity to actually drill all of these new leases, or even the leases they already control, then this obviously isn’t about “bringing down the cost of gas.” It’s about manipulating your pain at the pump for their gain.

Folks, Gardner is not a stupid man. He knows these leases wouldn’t be drilled. He knows that this won’t bring down the cost of gas, or offset the tapping of Strategic Petroleum Reserve oil.

There’s no nice way to say it, folks. Gardner is banking on your ignorance.

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7 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. RedGreenRedGreen says:

    For every percentage federal leases increase, Obama has to draw down the Strategic Petroleum Reserve by the same percentage within 180 days. Since the two are tied inextricably.

    • Ralphie says:

      are there for strategic purposes.

      I never did agree with Bush filling them up while crude prices were high–I always saw that as welfare for the oil companies.

      But the Strategic Petroleum Reserves exist to ensure that our Navy can get to wherever it needs to get regardless of who is trying to cut off our oil supply.

      Want cheaper gas?  Buy an electric car.

  2. ArapaGOPArapaGOP says:

    Pols, if oil companies have to return unused leases to the federal government, why would they “sit” on them? This is one of the most frustrating, they don’t get it things the Interior Department under Obama says, and everyone I know who has worked for the industry says it’s completely ridiculous.

    Do you want lower gas prices? Produce more oil. It astonishes me how often Econ 101 is completely lost on the Democrat left.

    • Gray in Mountains says:

      unless that oil is restricted to sales in the US. That is not going to happen because we live in a capitalist country. I do think it would be fair, however, to restrict the sale of our resource to our citizens. Our oil is being exported and we continue to pay more. The largest reason we pay more is the futures market.

      But, I think you already know this

    • BlueCat says:

      We are producing more oil, yet prices aren’t coming down for reasons you either know perfectly well or don’t, depending on whether you are a cynic or a moron.

      Does this work like give the rich and corporations huge tax breaks and the whole economy will do well?

      I know, I know.  Reality has a liberal bias.

    • ClubTwitty says:

      before you try to lecture people who know things you don’t.  

      Companies have ten years to ‘prove’ a federal lease, which takes one producing well, or a unitization agreement with another tract that has one producing well.  One producing well is not a field development; its either a wild cat, or a means to ‘hold’ a lease in perpetuity without developing it (i.e. to ‘sit’ on it).

      Its amazing to me how Drill shills pretend that oil is traded on a local market free of manipulations, subsidies, and other factors in some sort of elementary (excuse me ‘undergrad’) simplistic ‘Econ 101.’  

      But if you want to consider such, here’s a thought to ponder–who controls supply?  And do those who control supply have an interest in glutting the market and driving prices down, down, down?  

    • Republican 36 says:

      See Club Twitty’s comment above and look at the oil rig count every week. All the oil and gas industry needs to do is build more rigs and then they can drill more wells because they certainly have thouands upon thousands of yet to be drilled leases to do that on. Most of the rigs are being utilized at full capacity and production within the United States has increased almost 500,000 barrels a day since President Obama took office while demand has continued to decrease.

      You simply can’t blame the United States government.

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