IER Prez: “No Administration In History Has Done More to Ensure Producers Do Less”

WASHINGTON – Earlier today, Interior secretary Ken Salazar outlined a series of changes to federal leasing rules aimed at making it more difficult, expensive, and time-consuming to explore for and produce abundant reserves of American energy on federal, taxpayer-owned land. Subsequent to the announcement of the new rules, Institute for Energy Research (IER) president Thomas J. Pyle released the following statement:

“When it comes to paving the way for the responsible development of homegrown, job-creating energy resources, no administration in history has done more to ensure producers do less.

“It’s a superlative not achieved by accident. Over the course of a single year, we’ve seen the Interior secretary block commonsense exploration through a number of creative means – from executing a pocket veto on a sensible plan to produce offshore, to outright rescinding existing lease contracts in Utah.

“But while the means and methods have changed, the loser continues to be the American taxpayer. In 2008, the Interior Department collected 10-times the amount of revenue from lease sales than it did in 2009. Thanks to today’s announcement, that number has nowhere to go but down in 2010.”

NOTE: Back in November, IER published a detailed exposition of Secretary Salazar’s record of leasing this year as head of the Interior Department. Among the highlights from that report:

  • Under the first year of the Obama administration’s 2009 oil and gas leasing program, fewer onshore and offshore acres have been leased than in any previous year on record.
  • The Interior Department collected less than one-tenth the revenue from oil and gas lease sales in 2009 than it did in 2008
  • For the year 2008, lease sale revenues produced a return for the taxpayer of $942 per acre leased.  In 2009, taxpayers received about $254 in return for each acre leased under the Obama administration – indicative of the quality of leasable land made available under Sec. Salazar
  • More than 97 percent of the 2.46 billion acres of taxpayer-owned lands in the public domain are presently not leased for oil and gas exploration


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