WASHINGTON– The White House continues to dust off old arguments in an attempt to keep taxpayer-owned resources in the Outer-Continental Shelf and on federal lands under lock and key.  Today, a report from the Department of the Interior reports that millions of acres that have been leased are not producing oil or being explored.

This revelation is nothing new.  In fact, it is a historical fact that only about 30 percent of leases will ever produce energy.  The report itself states that historically,“producing acres as a percentage of leased acres have averaged about 30%.” Two weeks ago, Michael Bromwich, the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement, told the House Appropriations committee that companies are “doing well” if they find oil or gas on one out of every three offshore leases.

Back in 2008, when lawmakers were trying out these same arguments, IER showed how energy leasing actually works in the real world.  We’ve also shown who is really hoarding taxpayer land:

Disregarding the facts of energy production, the Obama Administration is misleading the American people.  In response to the report, Daniel Kish, senior vice president of policy at the Institute for Energy Research, issued the following statement:

“The Secretary of Interior’s bad imitation of Captain Renault – ‘I’m shocked, shocked…to find that companies aren’t producing oil on every acre they’ve leased’ – may fool some people.  But scientists in the field of geology dismissed this urban myth the last time opponents of US energy production tried it back in 2008 as an excuse to oppose lifting the offshore moratorium. “

“In 2008, then-Senator Salazar opposed opening the OCS even if gas prices reached $10 a gallon!  So no one should be surprised that he is now trying to cover up his worst-in-history energy record, especially as gas prices climb for motorists and businesses.  The Secretary should let Americans go back to work producing energy: offshore, in Alaska, and in the west on government lands.  In addition, the Administration should start celebrating our own oil production instead of Brazil’s.”

“The Secretary’s report today, and the implication that something is wrong when it is not, is showing the American people the same contempt his Department was found guilty of by a federal judge who ordered him to stop the moratorium on drilling in the Gulf.”

“Perhaps the Secretary, a rancher, would understand it better on his terms:  bulls do not produce milk, though they are an important part of the process.”

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