In a news release earlier today, the Western Energy Alliance claims that “Colorado BLM offered a shockingly low four parcels in 2011” for oil and gas leasing.

They failed to mention that Colorado BLM is set to auction an additional 54 parcels covering more than 41,700 acres. And, there are several million acres leased in Colorado for development that have not yet been developed. In FY2010, for every three drilling permits issued for public lands in Colorado, industry started only one new drilling well.

Here are a few other pertinent facts:

1. Oil and gas companies receive $15 billion in special tax breaks.
Taxpayers for Common Sense outlined over $15 billion each year in special tax breaks to the oil and gas industry.

2. About 57 percent of lands leased to oil and gas companies for development – covering 21.6 million acres – are idle.
Industry has plenty of access to public lands. The U.S. Department of Interior released a report earlier this year outlining the unused leases.

3. Industry has yet to develop 7,000 drilling permits.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management recently testified in committee that the oil and gas industry has about 7,000 undeveloped permits where industry has a green light to drill.

4. The Salazar leasing reforms are creating more certainty for industry, and the number of protested leases is down nearly 40 percent from just two years ago.
According to the BLM, the number of protested leases dropped nearly 40 percent from 1,108 in FY08 to 665 in FY10. As of September 15, just 105 parcels had been protested in FY11. (BLM fact sheet available upon request)

5. For the last two years, the BLM has approved more drilling permits than applications it has received.
The BLM has actually been clearing the backlog of permits not processed by the Bush administration and processing those permits at its highest rate in nearly a decade.

6. Business is booming for the oil and gas industry.
The top five oil and gas companies made over $67 billion in profits the first half this year.

Colorado operator Anadarko Petroleum (who sits on the board of Western Energy Alliance) posted a $562 million profit compared to a $28 million net loss just one year ago.

7. Drilling activity is reaching record levels in the U.S.
Oil and gas activity is back to pre-recession levels and actually nearing a 20-year high. In fact, there are more active drill rigs in the United States than all other countries combined. The national boom is being driven by higher prices at the pump, encouraging development of shale oil plays like the Bakken in North Dakota.

8. The oil and gas industry is adding 10,000 jobs a month.
Despite the reported jobs slowdown last month, in 2011 the oil and gas industry has been adding roughly 10,000 jobs per month on average. In fact, The Wall Street Journal reported that energy jobs are at a two-decade high and that industry is worried about a shortage of skilled workers.

9. The United States is a net-exporter of petroleum products.
While it may sound unbelievable, over the last six months the United States has exported more petroleum products than it’s imported. That includes the crude oil we important abroad and the refined gasoline and diesel we sell to neighboring countries. Experts attribute this to reduced demand for oil in the United States to the economic downturn and increasingly fuel-efficient cars on the road.

Click to read a new Bureau of Land Management fact sheet.