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Report: All oil, gas production growth under Obama happens on private lands

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Michal Conger

Thanks to the private sector, the United States is enjoying an oil and natural gas boom, but production on federal lands has actually declined since President Obama came into office, a new report shows.

Between fiscal years 2010 and 2012, total U.S. oil production rose by about 1.1 million barrels per day over fiscal year 2007, and natural gas production rose 20 percent from 2007 to 2012. All of the increased production from fiscal years 2007 to 2012 took place on non-federal lands, the Congressional Research Service found.

At the same time, the average daily production of natural gas on federal lands decreased by 19 percent between fiscal years 2011 and 2012, and by 33 percent between fiscal years 2008 and 2012.

The report suggests onerous regulations and long permitting processes are at least partially to blame for the drop in production on federal lands. According to CRS, the average time to process an application to drill on federal land increased 41 percent from 2006 to 2011, from 218 days in 2006 to 307 in 2011.  The Bureau of Land Management says overall processing times have increased because of the complexity of the process.

“President Obama often boasts that overall energy production has increased under his administration, but this report confirms the energy boom is occurring in spite of the president’s policies, not because of them,” said a statement from the House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday. “Oil and gas production on federal lands are down due to a complex regulatory regime and an inefficient permitting process.”

Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield said the decline in federal production is hurting gas prices.

“As gas prices continue to rise past $4.00 a gallon, American families are looking to Washington for solutions to help provide relief at the pump,” he said. “Expanding oil production on federal lands offers a real opportunity to help increase domestic supplies and stabilize prices as well as boost federal revenues.”

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