During the recent State of the Union address, President Obama proudly boasted that the United States was now the world’s number one producer of natural gas and oil. While his assertion is correct, he conveniently ignored the fact that his polices have had nothing to do with this surge in domestic oil production. During his 6 years in office, he has not issued a single new license to drill on federal property.
As a result, domestic oil production on federal lands has decreased by 6%. If it were not for the private sector, the nation would be more dependent on foreign oil than ever. Thankfully, oil & natural gas drilling on private lands surged by 63% over the same period of time which surge has made the nation the global leader in fossil fuel production.
This is significant because the president has now proposed to convert 12 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) into a conservation. The land would include key coastal areas that would be essential to future drilling. News of the proposal comes on the heels of his recent proposal to increase methane gas regulations on new drills.
The methane gas regulations will increase the cost of doing business at a time that the US oil shale industry is in a fight for survival. The new proposal to take 12 million acres away from potential use in oil drilling would be yet another blow to the nation’s potential for energy independence. However, the proposal will require congressional authorization. Key GOP legislators have declared the measure dead on arrival.