Myth v. Reality: Leasing Talking Points
The Interior Department is holding a forum on how it will implement the Biden leasing ban. As I discussed last week, 7% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from the development and consumption of federal oil and natural gas does not equal “nearly a quarter.” Likewise, less than 4% of the federal mineral estate is not a “stockpile” of leases from rampant “fire sales.” Here are a few highlights.
Myth Number One: “Over the last few years the oil and gas industry has stockpiled millions of acres of leases on public lands and waters.”
Leased acreage is at a historic low while production has hit historic levels. From a high of over 120 million acres in 1985, leased acreage is down 78% to 26.6 million, up slightly from the all-time historic low during the Trump Administration of 25.5 million acres. By the end of the Trump Administration, leased acreage was down 41% from the Obama Administration’s high of 45.4 million. In fact, industry is more efficient, producing greater quantities of oil and natural gas from an ever-smaller portion of public lands.
Source: BLM Oil and Gas Statistics webpage.
Myth v. Reality on the Administration's Greenhouse Gas Claims: 0.6% Does Not Equal "Nearly a Quarter"
The Interior Department will be holding a forum on March 25th to “highlight perspectives” from various stakeholders on the president’s ban on oil and natural gas leasing. Hopefully the forum will shed light on what form the “comprehensive review” of the federal oil and natural gas program will entail. I anticipate it will be a multi-year environmental impact statement process that means that it is effectively a Biden leasing ban for most if not all of the first term.
I was struck that the new administration is parroting the talking points we’ve hear for a few years now from the environmental lobby about federal oil and natural gas greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. I figured it was past time to look into the main talking points.
Over the past month, multiple investigative reports and news stories have attacked Western Energy Alliance after we filed a lawsuit challenging President Biden’s ban on new oil and natural gas leases on public lands. The flurry of reports coming out and targeting us is no coincidence. Despite our high profile over several years, we’ve never seen this level of coordination to try to discredit our work in such a short time. These recent stories reveal the climate power players behind the attacks, the playbook of the environmental movement and media, and the billion-dollar philanthropies that finance it all.
Playbook in Action
The most recent news comes from The Guardian and Wyoming Public Media in a pair of news stories over the past week attacking the Alliance for promoting an academic study on the economic harm from Biden’s ban. Publicly available information reveals sources quoted in the stories are anti-oil and natural gas advocates and research cited in the articles was conducted by front groups that are funded by philanthropic foundations committed to advancing President Biden’s climate agenda.