Washington, DC – Today, top Obama Administration officials responsible for managing our nation’s vast energy resources will defend the President’s budget proposal, which to paraphrase President Ronald Reagan’s view of government programs, can be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Bob Abbey will testify today before the Senate and House Appropriations panels, respectively. The Interior Department is the nation’s largest land and mineral owner, and the BLM is tasked with managing both the surface and subsurface energy resources on these federal lands. Interior is also tasked with managing the almost 2.4 billion acres of mineral estate – an area larger than all the land in the United States – on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Currently, the government has leased about 3% of these offshore lands for domestic energy development.

Thomas J. Pyle, president of the non-partisan Institute for Energy (IER), issued the following statement regarding the Interior Department’s budget request, which discourages domestic energy production through new fees and layers of burdensome and unnecessary bureaucratic red tape.

“It’s good and well to say that you support domestic energy production on taxpayer-owned Federal lands; it’s another thing to advance policies that actually promote such commonsense development. This Administration has not only implemented a de-facto ban on new development of our homegrown energy resources offshore, but the budget request that Secretary Salazar and Director Abby are presenting today will increase red tape, fees, and regulatory hurdles on development of these job-creating energy resources.

“Increasing regulations, taxes and barriers on energy development, and you will discourage investment, the Administration’s logic goes. These misguided efforts will drive capital investment and good-paying American jobs overseas. Some smaller energy producers may even be forced to shut their doors. For Western states – like Utah, Colorado and Wyoming, where bureaucrats in Washington largely determine where and how energy can be produced – taxpayers, small businesses and local governments all lose out on the economic development, royalties and the jobs generated from oil, gas and coal development on taxpayer-owned lands.

“This Administration has a clear choice: encourage responsible energy development on taxpayer-owned federal lands, or continue to deny Americans access to affordable, domestic energy resources and the millions of jobs that come with it. It’s very clear, and unsettling, which path this proposed budget will lead our nation.”

Additional resources from IER:

Press release: Obama Admin Delays Atlantic OCS Development until at Least 2014, Will Congress Force Interior’s Hand?

Study: The Economic Contribution of Increased Offshore Oil Exploration and Production to Regional and National Economies

Analysis: The President’s Bogus Green Economics


MARCH 4, 2010
LAURA HENDERSON, 202.621.2951

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