February 4, 2009 
Cancelled 77 oil and gas leases in Utah that could cost American taxpayers millions in lost lease bids, production royalties, new jobs and the energy needed to offset rising imports of oil and gas.

February 10, 2009
Delayed for six months the development of the new 5-year leasing program for offshore drilling that would have created new jobs, produced more American-made energy, and made us less dependent on foreign oil.

February 25, 2009

Delayed the new round of oil shale research, demonstration, and development (RD&D) leases that would help advance American technology and create high-tech jobs in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.

February 26, 2009

Introduced a budget that contains page after page of taxes on oil and gas totaling more than $31 billion and included a cap-and-trade national energy tax that could cost the average American family over $3,100 a year.

March 30, 2009

Signed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act into law. This $10 billion, 1200-page bill prohibited energy production on over 3 million acres of federal land, costing American jobs.

April 2009: Obama administration announces the intent to rewrite the  2008 Stream Buffer Zone rule, which a government contractor found would cost  7,000  jobs related to the coal industry in 22 states. In testimony to Congress, the contractor stated that the federal Office of Surface Mining requested the impact data be revised, and the contractor was dismissed after failing to do so.

April 17, 2009

Listed carbon dioxide as a hazardous pollutant, opening the door for the regulation of all CO2 emissions under the Clean Air Act.

April 27, 2009
The Environmental Protection Agency ordered the cancellation of a permit for a Navajo Nation power plant that Navajo leadership called the most important development project the tribe has ever undertaken. This decision prevents the Navajo nation from creating new jobs and reducing its 42 percent unemployment rate.

June 29, 2009

The Interior Department established new solar reserve areas under the premise of prioritizing solar development, but the actual result was the closing of all but two percent of federal lands from renewable energy development. This was done without public comment. The Department left open only 670,000 acres of the nearly 30 million acres of land with solar potential.

July 20, 2009

Blocked new uranium mining for two years on one million acres of land in Arizona.

August 24, 2009

Withdrew 23,757 acres of oil and gas leases in the Bridger Teton National Forest in Wyoming.

September 17, 2009

Secretary Salazar stated that the Administration may not complete a new Outer Continental Shelf lease plan until 2012.

October 8, 2009

Issued a final report on the Utah oil and gas leases, offering only 17 of the 77 leases. In November, the Institute for Energy Research found that the Administration has leased less acreage than any other on record.

October 20, 2009

Announced a new round of oil shale RD&D Leases which include job killing variable terms, royalty rates, and lease sizes.


January 6, 2010

Implemented numerous new hurdles to the leasing and development of new oil and natural gas on onshore federal lands.

January 26, 2010

MMS announced it will delay the Virginia offshore lease sale scheduled for November 2011.

January 28, 2010

Announced the results of the most recent round of oil shale RD&D leases, which resulted in an 85% reduction in industry interest under the terms proposed by the Department.

February 1, 2010

Released the FY 2011 budget proposal that includes nearly $40 billion in direct tax and fee increases on the American oil, natural gas and coal industries. The budget also shows declining revenue for new offshore leases, proving that the Administration has no intention of opening up new areas for offshore drilling.

February 17, 2010

Department of Energy notified Congress that it would reprogram $115 million Congress appropriated to continue the Yucca Mountain licensing process, and instead use it to terminate the only national repository for spent nuclear fuel under current law.

March 3, 2010

Department of Energy filed a motion to permanently abandon Yucca Mountain – the nation’s repository for high-level spent nuclear fuel under current law – jeopardizing the future of nuclear energy.

March 12, 2010

Withdrew 61 oil and gas leases in Montana as part of a settlement over climate change.

March 18, 2010


March 31, 2010

Ignoring statutory law, the Bureau Of Land Management agreed to settle a lawsuit out of court regarding the use of an “extraordinary circumstances” provision when using “categorical exclusions” for new oil and gas leases as defined by Section 390 in the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005.

March 31, 2010

Announced a new OCS plan that closes the vast majority of the OCS from future energy production.

May 6, 2010

Issued a moratorium on all new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, creating further economic devastation and costing thousands of jobs.

May 17, 2010

Bureau of Land Management finalized rules, first announced by Secretary Salazar on January 6, 2010, to establish more government hurdles to onshore oil and natural gas production on federal lands.

May 28, 2010

Lifted the moratorium on shallow water drilling – yet still keeps a de facto moratorium in place by approving only a handful of permits.

June 15, 2010

In an Oval Office address on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, President Obama continued to push for implementation of a job-killing cap-and-trade national energy tax.

June 21, 2010 EPA announced its proposed rule for Coal Combustion Residuals, also known as coal ash, which could cost up to 316,000 jobs and $110 billion in economic activity. EPA rules regulating coal also threaten the reliability of the power grid and have already dismantled power plants that generate 33 gigawatts of electricity.

July 12, 2010

Issued a new moratorium on deepwater drilling after the first moratorium was struck down in federal court.

July 19, 2010

President’s Ocean Policy Taskforce issued final recommendations on implementing a Federally-controlled system of ocean zoning that could lock up huge areas of the ocean to energy development.

October 12, 2010

Lifted the deepwater drilling moratorium – yet still keeps a de facto moratorium in place by refusing to issue permits.

November 18, 2010

An Interior Department presentation showed that they plan to postpone new lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico until 2012.

November 31, 2010

Interior Department announced it would consider proposals to regulate hydraulic fracturing on public lands – a technique currently regulated by states that is responsible for tremendous growth in natural gas production.

December 1, 2010
Effectively reinstated the moratorium on offshore drilling, placing the entire Pacific, the entire Atlantic, the Eastern Gulf and parts of Alaska off limits to future energy production.

December 23, 2010

Interior Department announced a new “Wild Lands” Secretarial Order that could place hundreds of millions of acres of public lands off-limits to American energy production.


January 14, 2011

Revoked an already issued permit for a West Virginia coal mine, costing 250 American jobs.

February 2, 2011

Continued to impose a de facto moratorium on drilling, Federal Judge finds the Interior Department in contempt of court.

February 14, 2011

Released the FY 2012 budget proposal that includes over $60 billion in direct tax and fee increases on American energy production.

February 15, 2011

Announced further delays to U.S. oil shale production by deciding to re-review the current rules for commercial oil shale leasing.

February 28, 2011

Issued a token deepwater permit, over four months after the moratorium was officially lifted. Did not say when future permits would be issued, thereby continuing the de facto moratorium and leaving thousands of Americans out of work.

March 4, 2011

Filed an appeal to a Federal Court ruling that ordered the Administration to act on stalled deepwater permits.

June 20, 2011
Secretary Salazar continued the short-term ban on uranium mining claims and suggests a 20 year ban.

June 2, 2011 President Obama nominated John Bryson, a founder of the anti-energy group Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and chairman of a solar company that received a $1.6 billion DOE loan guarantee, to be Secretary of Commerce.

June 23, 2011 Recognizing that additional oil supplies will reduce the price of gasoline and reduce political pressure to do something meaningful to increase supplies, the Obama administration releases oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which was established as a stockpile against an emergency embargo or natural disaster which disrupts U.S. oil supplies.

July 6, 2011 EPA finalized the Cross State Air Pollution Rule, which it estimates will cost $800 million a year, in addition to $1.6 billion in capital investments needed each year. As a result, Luminant—Texas’ largest power generator—announces closure of plant units, and the layoff of 500 employees.

June 8, 2011 President Obama nominates Rebecca Wodder to be the next Interior Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Wodder’s nomination is later withdrawn after public concerns about her record of opposition to oil and gas exploration, as well as other natural resource activities. Wodder, in her role at an environmental activist organization, among other things said hydraulic fracturing has a “nasty track record of creating a toxic chemical soup that pollutes groundwater,” despite no confirmed incidents of contamination being reported.

August 15, 2011 A federal judge overturns the Obama administration’s policy to block the use of categorical exclusions for offshore oil and natural gas production, a long-established practice that reduces government costs and red tape in the permitting process for minor activities. Without categorical exclusions, permitting will be delayed significantly. The Department of Interior is “reviewing the ruling” in an attempt to mandate individual environmental reviews for each drilling permit.

August 26, 2011 The Department of State concludes its 36-month environmental assessmentof Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport as much as 830,000 barrels of oil from Canada per day to be refined and used in the US. The review found that no significant adverse impacts to the environment would result from the pipeline. No further action is taken afterward to approve or deny the pipeline.

August 31, 2011 Solyndra, the poster-child for Obama’s “green” energy policies, filed for bankruptcy, despite receiving a $535 million loan from U.S. taxpayers. Unfortunately, the list of companies that received taxpayer subsidies before going bankrupt is extensive and growing.

September 2, 2011 The Obama administration announces postponement of the controversial ozone rule—which was estimated to have cost 7.3 million jobs and nearly $700 billion in economic activity by 2020but states its intent to revisit the issue in 2013.

September 30, 2011 Fiscal Year 2011 ends without the Obama administration holding a single offshore lease sale, the first such occurrence in 50 years.

October 3, 2011 The Interior Bureau of Ocean Energy Management finally affirms Shell’s permit to drill in the Chukchi Sea, after delaying and placing its February 2008 lease purchase underreview for over a year.

October 26, 2011 Interior Secretary Salazar proposes merging the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) with the Bureau of Land Management—despite the fact that the law creating the OSM states that it is meant to be a separate regulatory body without interference from Interior’s political functions.

November 8, 2011 The Obama Administration announced a draft plan that closes the majority of the OCS to new energy production through 2017. The Administration’s draft five-year plan prohibits new offshore drilling and essentially only allows lease sales to occur in areas that were open when 85% of the lower 48 OCS was under the moratorium that was lifted in 2008.

November 10, 2011 The Department of State announces that it will need until 2013—or at least 13 more months—to consider an alternate route for the Keystone XL pipeline, which was first proposed in 2008. This is despite State’s determination 3 times that the pipeline would cause no significant environmental impacts.

November 16, 2011 The EPA and NHTSA issued a joint proposal to increase fuel economy mandates between 2017-2025. IER filed comments on the final rule that demonstrate the extremely destructive and unintended consequences that will result from the stringency of these new CAFE mandates, including safety as well as significantly higher auto prices which will force some drivers out of the market.


January 9, 2012 Obama’s Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s announces a 20-year ban on uranium mining on one million acres of federal land in Arizona. The Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee stated, “Safe and responsible mining of this land could have produced thousands of high paying, family wage mining jobs. The United States is already 90 percent dependent on foreign sources of uranium and this decision only exacerbates our foreign dependence by locking up our own clean energy resources.”

January 18, 2012 President Obama officially rejected the Keystone XL pipeline permit by issuing a finding that the pipeline was “not in the national interest” of the United States. The action destroyed tens of thousands of jobs right here in America, and means that for each additional day his denial stands, the U.S. will import an additional $70 million of overseas oil which could be replaced with safe and secure North American supplies.

January 24, 2012 President Obama makes his State of the Union address, claiming that oil and gas production levels are higher than ever. However, government data shows that permits today are being issued at rates 50 percent lower than during the Clinton administration. The president fails to mention that this increase is happening on private and state lands, not the federal lands which his policies control.

February 1, 2012 Greater New Orleans Inc. releases the February 2012 Gulf Permit Index showing that the Obama administration’s permitorium in the Gulf continues. In the previous three months, the administration has issued 57 percent fewer deep water permits than the historical average and 68 percent fewer shallow water permits.

February 3, 2012 Obama Administration announces plans to close off  75 percent of Western oil shale—of which 70 percent is on federal lands—to development.

February 13, 2012 President releases his FY2013 budget, which calls for $66 billion in new taxes on the oil and gas industry.

February 16, 2012 Obama’s EPA finalizes its Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (also known as Utility MACT), which will force plant closures, cause 33 gigawatts of electric power to go offline and raise electricity rates for all consumers. The estimated cost of this rule is between $9.6 and $11 billionperyear, and when combined with the finalized CSAPR rule, would destroy 183,000 jobs per year from 2012-2020. These actions will make electricity prices skyrocket.

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