Federal Western Production Lags in the ‘Red Tape Nation’

February 24, 2015
  • Downward trends continue in federal onshore development and production
  • Western federal production continues to lag behind private and state lands
  • Red Tape Nation infographic series illustrates how federal obstacles hinder western energy potential

(DENVER) - Western Energy Alliance published data that show how production continues to lag on federal lands compared to private and state lands. Accompanying the data set is Red Tape Nation, a four-part graphic series that illustrates the federal maze hindering production, such as deferred leasing, delayed project approvals and excessive demands.

Red Tape Nation Overview InfographicThe Alliance tracks annual federal onshore oil and natural gas statistics to help policymakers and the public understand trends in western development. The Red Tape Nation series is a new feature designed to tell the story of how government overreach hinders American energy production on public lands.

The recent data provide context and clarity to claims made by the President and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). BLM touts that it offered more acres for lease in 2014 than in 2013, yet a simple display of the long-term trend data show steep declines. By providing context to the government data, the Alliance shows how leasing in the West is down 77 percent and permitting is down 43 percent since 2008.

“President Obama likes to take credit for our nation’s energy boom, but the success has come despite, not because of his actions,” said Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of government and public affairs at the Alliance. “Production on federal lands is lagging far behind state and private lands because federal policies hinder development on public lands.

“We hear from the Administration that the reason federal production has not kept pace is because new shale plays are predominantly on private lands. Yet on public lands in the West, federal red tape is preventing the exploration and innovation that were necessary to jump-start other now-prolific shale plays. Preventing access to promising formations like the Mancos shale in western Colorado and New Mexico means federal lands will continue to underperform into the future.”

Highlighted statistics include:

  • Federal western natural gas production is down 21 percent and while oil is up 43 percent, it lags far behind overall growth at 138 percent
  • 101,121 jobs and $24.9 billion in annual economic activity are held up by National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis
  • 13 million acres in lease nominations are tied up by red tape
  • Federal agencies average 227 days to approve permits to drill while states average 33 days
  • Industry returns $54.12 in royalties and leasing revenue for every one taxpayer dollar spent by BLM administering the onshore program

To explore the Alliance’s data and to view the Red Tape Nation infographics, visit www.westernenergyalliance.org/RedTapeNation.

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