( – promoted by Colorado Pols)
Congressman Nick Rahall–Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee–introduced legislation (HR 6251: Responsible Federal Oil and Gas Lease Act) yesterday to require that oil and gas companies begin development of the tens of millions of acres of public land leases they have been stockpiling BEFORE they get to lease additional public lands.
Colorado Reps. Udall, Salazar, Perlmutter and DeGette all voted FOR the legislation, which failed because it was introduced under a suspension of the rules, requiring a 2/3 vote to pass. Reps. Musgrave and Lamborn voted against, and Tancredo was MIA. President Bush has threatened a veto
More after the flip…
This bill would–
prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from issuing new Federal oil and gas leases to holders of existing leases who do not diligently develop the lands subject to such existing leases or relinquish such leases
The Natural Resources Committee recently released a detailed analysis on just how much oil and gas Big Oil is sitting on, even as it makes a renewed effort to get at our most sensitive lands–like Colorado’s Roan Plateau, the Arctic Refuge, and our coastal waters. That report is here http://courtney.house.gov/Uplo…
This report shows that:
Increased Domestic Drilling Activity Has Not Led To Lower Gasoline Prices:
Since the 1990s, the federal government has consistently encouraged the development of its oil and gas resources and the amount of drilling on
federal lands has steadily increased during this time. The number of drilling permits has exploded in recent years, going from 3,802 five years ago to 7,561 in 2007.
Between 1999 and 2007, the number of drilling permits issued for development of public lands increased by more than 361%, yet gasoline prices
have also risen dramatically contradicting the argument that more drilling means lower gasoline prices. There is simply no correlation between
Energy Companies Not Using Federal Lands Already Open to Energy Development:
Even if increased domestic drilling activity could affect the price of gasoline, there is yet no justification to open additional federal lands because oil and gas companies have shown that they cannot keep pace with the rate of drilling permits that the federal government is handing out.
In the last four years, the Bureau of Land Management has issued 28,776 permits to drill on public land; yet, in that same time, 18,954 wells were actually drilled. That means that companies have stockpiled nearly 10,000 extra permits to drill that they are not using to increase domestic production.
Further, despite the federal government’s willingness to make public lands and waters available to energy developers, of the 47.5 million acres of on-shore federal lands that are currently being leased by oil and gas companies, only about 13 million acres are actually in production, or producing oil and gas. Similar trends are evident offshore as well, where only 10.5 million of the 44 million leased acres are currently producing oil or gas.
Combined, oil and gas companies hold leases to nearly 68 million acres of federal land and waters that they are not producing oil and gas.
Oil and gas companies would not buy leases to this land without believing oil and gas can be produced there, yet these same companies are not producing oil or gas from these areas already under their control.
If we extrapolate from today’s production rates on federal land and waters, we can estimate that the 68 million acres of leased but currently inactive federal land and waters could produce an additional 4.8 million barrels of oil and 44.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day. That would nearly double total U.S. oil production, and increase natural gas production by 75%. It would also cut U.S. oil imports by more than a third,and be more than six times the estimated peak production from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge