Barack Obama

With the mid-term elections upon us, President Obama and other Democrats are trying to take credit for lower gasoline prices and other economic benefits flowing from the record volumes of oil being produced by U.S. oil companies. And, of course, Obama is willing to lead from the front when it comes to such deceit. As he recently boasted to a crowd at Northwestern University:

Right off the bat, as soon as I came into office, we upped our investments in American energy to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and strengthen our own energy security. And today, the number-one oil and gas producer in the world is no longer Russia or Saudi Arabia. It’s America.

For the first time in nearly two decades, we now produce more oil than we buy from other countries. We’re advancing so fast in this area that two years ago I set a goal to cut our oil imports by half by—in half by 2020, and we’ve actually—we will meet that goal this year, six years ahead of schedule.

We? Obama and his Democrat cohorts don’t produce oil; they throttle those who produce oil—namely: private, profit-seeking oil companies. Fortunately, Obama and his ilk are not able (at this time) to throttle oil producers to the extent that Democrats (and godforsaken RINOs) would like.

While private oil companies operating on non-federally managed lands (whether private or state) achieve incredible levels of production, those operating on federally managed lands—where the Obama administration and the federal government wield the greatest power—have been unable to do so. As John Kemp of Reuters explains:

U.S. oil production has climbed almost 40 percent from 5.233 million barrels per day in 2009 to 7.235 million barrels per day in 2013. . . . But while daily output from non-federal lands has risen 60 percent to 5.576 million barrels, production in federal areas has actually fallen 6 percent to 1.658 million.

Among the reasons that production on federal lands is so paltry and in decline is that in order for oil companies to drill on these lands, they must first clear absurd government hurdles to receive permission to drill—and, far from helping oil producers by decreasing these hurdles, the Obama administration has increased them. As Kemp explains, “The average time taken to process an application for permit to drill [on Federally managed lands] had risen to 307 days in 2011, from 218 days in 2006.”

On non-federally managed lands, owners are afforded substantial protections from the dictates of the Obama administration and thus are able to be far more productive. As I noted in an earlier post,

a drilling permit on federal lands “typically involves approval from more than one federal agency and [takes] over six months compared to a drilling permit on private land that involves one state agency and 20–30 days.”

Additionally, the Obama administration has postponed or withdrawn leases to oil and gas companies seeking to explore and develop federal lands and offshore sites (e.g., the Gulf of Mexico). As I reported in an earlier post, “[When in] 2011, U.S. oil production increased another 3.3 percent,” it was “despite a 23 percent drop in offshore production in the Gulf of Mexico” largely due to a drilling moratorium there.

The bottom line is that during Obama’s terms in office, oil production on federally managed lands has substantially decreased, while oil production on private and state lands has dramatically increased.

Yes, Obama and the Democrats are responsible for something in this area; it’s just not what they would have Americans believe.

Let’s hope the incoming Republicans will begin to change America’s energy situation for the better—by repealing laws and eliminating regulations that throttle oil and gas producers in their efforts to do what they can do so brilliantly when they are free.


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