The sheer scale of the Big Oil rhetoric-fest that was unleashed after President Obama’s State of the Union (SOTU) address was tremendous. But as we read through clips and blogs, we realized there is a lot of poetry out there, but no prose. So we decided to create a one stop shop of easily accessed, easily read facts and figures about American oil and gas development and extraction on western lands. And so the Western Lands and Energy Dashboard was born.
President Obama spoke at length about our domestic energy resources and plan during his SOTU. He talked about how the federal government has opened millions of acres for oil and gas development over the last three years, how oil production is at its highest level in eight years. He informed Americans that in 2011, the U.S. relied less on foreign oil that in the last 16 years. This was all great news.
In fact, he said, “We’ve subsidized oil companies for a century. That’s long enough. (Applause.) It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that rarely has been more profitable…”
You could almost here the collective gasp from the executive offices of BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell. I’m sure that wherever Rep. Doug Lamborn was – he boycotted SOTU, but his absence didn’t negatively affect the evening – his cell phone started ringing. In fact, Big Oil’s entire spin machine went into overdrive.
Kathleen Sgamma at Western Energy Alliance talked about obstacles; API representatives called the President’s speech a smokescreen. Ron Arnold, executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, used the words “delay, obstruction and obfuscation” in a column in the Washington Examiner.
The new dashboard is an impartial counter to the rhetoric of industry lobby groups such as API and Western Energy Allaince, and the politicians who have deep industry ties as a result of major oil and gas contributions to their campaigns.
The facts and figures of the oil and gas industry and public lands development are presented in a simple and clear way for media and policymakers alike.
Last year, under the Obama administration, oil companies reported $104 billion in profits and benefited from the highest level of drilling activity since the Reagan era. This is the sort of information the oil and gas industry and their supporters in Congress neglect to mention. The goal of this project is to set the record straight.
Visit our dashboard and see for yourself. We intend for the it to be an unbiased source of facts and figures. And help yourself to any of the slides; you’ll notice we didn’t even brand them.