As a lifelong Coloradoan I was excited when Obama selected Ken Salazar as his Secretary of the Interior, because then he would no longer be our Senator. As an American, I was sad when Obama selected Ken Salazar as his Secretary of the Interior, because, well, he would be Secretary of the Interior. A new report from the Institute for Energy Research shows that my sadness was justified.
The Department of the Interior recently issued a press release bragging about when a great job they are doing with onshore and offshore oil leases. They have leased 55 million acres in 29 onshore and 2 offshore auctions this year. These leases have collected more then $931 million in revenue. That’s great, Ken, but how much revenue did you get last year from offshore and onshore leases?
Ten. Billion. Dollars. That’s right, this year’s revenues are one-tenth of last year’s revenues. The country is hemorrhaging money on stimulus schemes, borrowing and printing to finance our outrageous debt, and sitting on millions of acres of land that could be earning revenue, creating jobs, and lowering energy costs for hurting American families.
There were fewer onshore acres leased in 2009 than in any previous year. Only 1,028,299 of the 2,888,354 acres were leased and another 77,055 that were leased in Utah in 2008 were rescinded or deferred.
Offshore the numbers are even worse. Only 53 million acres were authorized to be leased and of those only about 2.7 million were leased. The following charts show the offshore acreage offered and leased under the discretion of the Obama Administration. The charts do not include lease sale 208, which Congress mandated under the Gulf of Mexico Energy and Security Act of 2006 and finalized one week before Obama took office. This lease accounted for 65% of the total offshore acreage offered and 70% of the offshore acreage leased. It was also responsible for 74% of the $930 million revenue collected from all leases. The Obama Administration played no part in its sale and was also unable to prevent the sale.
Wasting these valuable resources at a time when Americans need them most is reckless and irresponsible. Secretary Salazar and the Obama Administration are placating the environmentalist fringe and you are paying the price.