Interior Secretary Says ‘Stars Have Lined Up’ For Oil And Natural Gas Development On Federal Lands
As Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wraps up his tour of the West today, he used his travels to highlight opportunities for increased oil and natural gas development under the Trump administration.
At a conference in Houston last week, Zinke said the United States should look beyond energy independence and instead aim for energy dominance, Bloomberg reported. “Dominance is what America needs,” Zinke said.
“In 1983, I was told we’re going be out of oil and fossil fuels definitively in 2003.” Zinke said. “That’s not true.” “I always say God’s got a sense of humor – he gave us fracking,” Zinke continued. “And fracking is a game-changer – certainly a global game-changer.”
Zinke also said that boosting oil and natural gas production on federal lands is one way of achieving dominance – and providing the Interior Department with increased federal revenues.
Although domestic oil and natural gas production continues to set new records, development on federal lands has lagged behind production on state and private lands, as Western Energy Alliance has noted. Western Energy Alliance is a supporter of Western Wire.
According to data from the Congressional Research Service, natural gas production on federal lands decreased 15 percent from 2008 to 2015, while production on private and state lands increased 66.2 percent. During the same period, growth in oil production on state and private lands outpaced that of production on federal lands almost by a factor of two. Federal revenues from oil production in 2016 amounted to $6 billion – the lowest since 2004.
“There’s a reason federal production lags far behind private and state lands. The redundant regulation and red tape over the past eight years have had their intended effects,” Alliance President Kathleen Sgamma told the Washington Times in March. “Every major indicator of oil and natural gas activity on federal lands is down.”
Zinke told the conference that he is exploring ways to loosen restrictions on energy development. “My task is to … look at where we’re going to make changes, recommendations across the board,” Zinke said. “The stars have lined up so we can create energy jobs.”
“Production on federal lands was all but impossible under the Obama administration from the layers of additional red tape to the dwindling number of leases offered year after year,” House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said in a March statement.