Just last week, the Congressional Research Service issued a report on “U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production in Federal and Non-Federal Areas.” This thirteen page report looked at the question of how much oil and gas is produced on federal lands as opposed to non-federal (state and private) lands. The energy and manufacturing sectors have maintained for the last several years that the uptick in energy production has occurred primarily on private and state lands, while production on federal lands has dropped by almost 11 percent since 2009.
The CRS report identifies several reasons for this drop in production, but the energy sector will tell you that much of this can be attributed to moratoriums, de facto moratoriums, delays in obtaining permits, and the regulatory uncertainty created by this administration and the economy. According to the report, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) took an average of 127 days to process an application for permit to drill (APD) in 2006…127 days!! On the other hand, state Permits on state and private lands can take a little as five days.
Despite the federal government dragging their feet on permitting and energy production, the shale gas revolution has continued to thrive on private lands, resulting in an significant uptick in production and causing many manufacturers to relocate or build facilities in the United States. The results have been an increase in jobs, lower dependence on foreign energy and a more globally competitive U.S. manufacturing sector. Further, growth in the energy and manufacturing sectors has helped reduce our trade deficit.
We need the federal government to be strong partners as we work to rebuild our economy and become more energy independent. Overregulation, moratoriums, and slow federal permitting processes only serve to stifle this important growth.