Interior Secretary Ken Salazar joined White House Press Secretary Jay Carney in the briefing room Monday to tout President Obama's energy policies and the increase in oil and gas production, but a new report from the Department of Energy (DOE), prepared in consultation with Interior officials undermines his claim.
"On federal lands and water, we have moved forward in the last three years with a 13-percent increase in oil and gas production," Salazar said, dismissing Republican claims that production on federal lands has dropped, even if private production has increased. "I would say that those attacks are simply wrong. The fact of the matter is that we are producing more from public lands, both oil and gas, both onshore as well as offshore, than at any time in recent memory."
The U.S. Energy Information Administration, the DOE entity which prepared the report, debunks Salazar's claim that production is the highest its been in recent memory. The report shows that crude oil production and natural gas production on Federal lands both fell between 2010 and 2011. In fact, federal lands produced less crude oil in fiscal 2011 than they did in fiscal 2003. Natural gas production on federal land is also well below both three and eight years ago.
Unless his "recent memory" is very poor, this chart appears to falsify Salazar's assertion that both oil and gas production higher "than at any time in recent memory." Gas has been falling since before Obama took office and continues to fall. Oil is up since fiscal 2008 (Bush's second-to-last fiscal year in office) but down since 2003. Moreover, the 13 percent claim that Salazar made cannot be correct unless these numbers are just wrong.