Matt Garrington, Co-Director of The Checks and Balances Project, offered the following statement and facts regarding the introduction of Colorado House Republicans’ three bills to give away more of the West to the oil and gas industry: H.R. 4381, H.R. 4382 and H.R. 4383.
“Colorado House Republicans clearly know who is in charge of the U.S. House – Big Oil. It’s painful to watch members of Congress so blatantly pander for oil and gas lobby dollars.
“Instead of pushing legislation that amounts to nothing more than cheap gimmicks and handouts to industry, Rep. Lamborn, Rep. Coffman and Rep. Tipton should offer real solutions to high gas prices.
“If we want to get serious about gas prices, we should end tax breaks to oil and gas companies and reinvest those funds in American energy solutions such as high tech vehicles, the next generation of renewable fuels, and transportation solutions. We should also crackdown on Wall Street oil speculators that artificially increase the price of gas.”
FACTS ABOUT AMERICAN ENERGY DEVELOPMENT
- Oil production hit an 8-year high in 2011 at 2,070,454 thousand barrels
- Natural gas production was at an all-time high in 2011 at 28,577,562 MMcf
- Federal public lands leased in FY11 was 38.4 millionacres leased and in production.
- Drilling permits on federal public lands approved in FY11 was 4,244, outpacing the number of new wells spudded on federal public lands which was 3,260
- As of January 25, 2012, the oil and gas industry had 6,500 unused drilling permits for western federal lands.
- Drilling activity reached its highest level under the Obama administration than at any point since the Reagan administration.
FACTS ABOUT COLORADO ENERGY DEVELOPMENT
- Oil production is at an all-time high at 33,403 thousand barrels
- Natural gas production was at an all-time high in 2010 at 1,589,664 MMcf
- Federal public lands leased in FY11 was 4.38 million acres compared to just 1.47 million acres leased and in production.
- As of September 30, 2011, the oil and gas industry had 620 unused drilling permits for Colorado’s federal lands.
- Drilling in Colorado (federal, state, and private lands) was up 24% in 2011
Bush administration average: 67
Obama administration average: 60
A LOOK AT THE BILLS
H.R. 4382, Sponsored by Rep. Coffman (CO-06) – $174,800 in oil and gas contributions
- Increases oil and gas company speculation on public lands by requiring the Interior Department lease at least 25 percent of lands nominated for leasing by the oil and gas industry each year.
- Ignores the fact that 57% of oil and gas leases – covering 21.6 million acres – lay idle
- Prohibits Interior Department from making common sense decisions about whether leasing decisions should move forward when conflicts arise with other values such as water, wildlife habitat, and outdoor recreation.
- Eliminates oil and gas leasing reforms which have reduced conflicts and litigation over drilling, ensured stronger conservation measures are implemented alongside responsible energy development, and provided a seat at the table for local government, outdoor recreation businesses, and the community.
H.R. 4381, Sponsored by Rep. Tipton (CO-03) – $111,600 in oil and gas contributions
- Mandates the Interior Department to develop a new energy development plan every four years – but sets the table against renewable energy from consideration.
- Ignores market forces by requiring arbitrary “necessary actions” to facilitate energy development on the public lands.
H.R. 4383, Sponsored by Rep. Lamborn (CO-05) – $137,962 in oil and gas contributions
- Puts arbitrary deadlines on the permit approval process, especially given the fact that BLM continually issues far more drilling permits than the number of new wells industry drills on federal lands.
- Establishes a $5,000 administrative fee for protests to leases, permits, and right-of-ways as well as creating arbitrary barriers to judicial review when the public, state and local governments, and others wish to challenge unwise leasing and development decisions.
- Ignores the fact that industry has failed to develop more than 6,500 drilling permits.