For Immediate Release
March 17, 2011

Media Contact:
Matthew Garrington, Deputy Director
(720) 206-4348
[email protected]

Hastings continues to work on behalf of Big Oil instead of American families
Pushes for less regulation and more land while ignoring millions of dormant acres

Washington, DC – The Checks and Balances Project is fact checking Natural Resources Committee Chairman Richard “Doc” Hastings on Thursday during yet another of his attempts to push Big Oil’s agenda. Hastings is expected to continue to ignore the facts surrounding oil and gas drilling in Western states, choosing instead to try and portray Big Oil and Big Gas the victims, despite the record profits being reported by both those industries.

At a hearing billed as, “Harnessing American Resources to Create Jobs and Address Rising Gasoline Prices: Domestic Resources and Economic Impacts,” Hastings is expected to continue to ignore the 29 million acres oil and gas corporations have locked up for speculation purposes, as well as the nearly 3,000 drilling permits they failed to develop in 2010. Since becoming chairman, Hastings has cited the country’s needs for jobs and a lower price at the pump, but refused to consider asking oil and gas corporations to use the resources they already have in hand, rather than demanding more public land.

“Doc Hastings is letting Big Oil pollute his politics,” said Matt Garrington, Director of Western Lands for The Checks and Balances Project, “and American families are the ones footing the bill.

“How can he and his colleagues justify handing over billions of our tax dollars in government welfare to oil companies? In 2010, Congress gave Big Oil $2 billion in tax breaks for drilling expenses and $9 billion for oil exploration. In the second quarter of 2010, Exxon Mobil netted $7.56 billion in profits, nearly double what it made during the same period the year before.

“Congress must stop forcing American families to foot the bill for Big Oil’s agenda.”

The top five oil companies – BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell – have made nearly $1 trillion over the last 10 years. Yet they continue to receive billions in taxpayer-funded, congressional handouts. In a recent analysis, Checks and Balances demonstrated that more often than not, when price at the pump increases so do oil company profits. In spite of these facts, Hastings refuses to call oil or gas corporate CEOs before his committee to justify their actions.

It is worth noting that the oil and gas industries spent $146 million lobbying congress in 2010, and that Hastings has taken nearly $156,000 in campaign contributions from oil and gas over the course of his career.

In a media round table on Tuesday, DoI Secretary Ken Salazar released some other facts regarding America’s public lands and energy production:


• Production of crude oil rose in 2010.

• Offshore oil production increased by 33 percent.

• Natural gas production increased by 5 percent, at highest level in 30 years.

Land Use

• The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages over 240 million acres of land.

• The BLM has scheduled 33 lease sales around the country.

• BLM lease sales will supplement 41 million acres of land currently leased to oil and gas production.

• Around 12 million of those acres are producing energy.


• The Department of Interior intends to approve an estimated 7,200 permits by the end of 2011, a more than 40 percent increase from the previous year.

• In 2010, 5,000 drilling permits were approved.


• The BLM is one of the top revenue-generating agencies in the government. In 2010, the agency generated $4 for every $1 allocated by Congress.

• In 2011, the BLM projects an increase of revenue to $5 for every dollar spent.

• The extraction of these resources and their introduction into the market boosted the American economy by approximately $103 billion.