President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney had a heated exchange about energy in the most recent debate. The President repeated his refrain that oil and gas production is the highest it has been in eight years, but Romney was right to point out that this was driven by production on private and state lands.
The vast majority of America’s new oil and gas production is happening on private lands in states like North Dakota, Alaska and Texas. The environmental review and permitting process on federal lands, however, is burdensome and keeps resources untapped.
As Heritage’s Michael Sandoval has reported:
…oil production on federal lands has decreased between fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2011 by 11 percent. Natural gas production has decreased by 6 percent in the same one-year span. It is down nearly 27 percent from fiscal 2009. Meanwhile, oil and gas production have increased by 14 percent and 12 percent, respectively, on private and state-owned land.
How did North Dakota pass Alaska and California to become the second-largest producer of domestic crude oil? Answer: sensible state regulations, advancements in technology, and the ability to drill on private lands.