In the past few weeks, several reports have been released related to federal lands.  These reports attempt to explain how federal lands could be better used to access energy sources. Both the American Petroleum Institute and the Institute for Energy Research found that the amount of domestically produced oil and natural gas has greatly reduced since Obama assumed office in 2009.  The United States has some of the largest natural gas, oil and coal resources in the world.  The reports found that these are resources that are not being used to their full potential. 

 Reduced leasing, permitting and drilling have caused production on federal lands, especially in the western United States to plummet.  With these numbers going down from year to year, one must wonder how restricted these access points will be in 2012.

According to the American Petroleum Institute, thousands of jobs have been lost in the energy-rich western U.S.  Additionally, the U.S.  has forfeited hundreds of millions of dollars in state and federal tax revenues, royalties and lease payments that would have been gathered by western states and the U.S. Treasury.

The amount of oil that is recoverable in the United States is 1.4 trillion barrels.  This is more oil than has been consumed since people began using the resource over 150 years ago.

The IER report explained that according to government sources we have an estimated  120 years’ worth of natural gas, 200 years’ worth of oil, and 460 years of coal. 

Energy for America released a video analyzing these new findings.  In it they mention 3 energy reforms that would create over 1 million jobs.

1.       Unlock more federal lands for exploration and development.

2.       Develop shale resources.

3.       Stop excessive regulation, specifically in the Gulf Coast.

These reports make it clear that the United States is not using its domestically produced resources to their full potential.  Instead, we rely heavily on foreign oil.  If the government were to allow increased exploration and development on federal lands, oil and natural gas companies would create jobs here at home while reducing our dependence on foreign oil.  These 25 years of bad policy restricting our access to these resources, makes us less competitive, increases prices for consumers, and prevents job creation.  

The problem that we seem to be facing is that there is a lack of good policy being made, not a lack of energy sources.  We need to reform the federal policies of the last three years in order to access these abundant resources.  Were Energy for America’s suggestions adopted, we can expect to see a greater use of domestic energy and more jobs being created by this industry.