After reading this Facebook post, I’m wondering if the Interior Department should be renamed the Department of Killing Jobs. Here’s why I’m wondering that:
In a study released last week, Dr. Joseph Mason of LSU demonstrated the vast economic benefits of opening up federal lands to oil and gas development: 500,000 new jobs a year and more than $30 billion a year in federal, state, and local tax revenue over the next seven years alone. That’s just for starters. The study also shows that opening new federal lands to oil and gas production will create a cumulative $14.4 trillion in economic activity. But instead of seizing the opportunity to unlock the benefits of expanding oil and natural gas exploration, the Interior Department on Feb. 6 identified 23 renewable energy projects for priority permitting.
Environmentalists have been making dire predictions about how fossil fuels destroy the environment for almost half a century. At minimum, the vast majority of those predictionsm have been off by orders of magnitude.
For instance, the president of the Sierra Club wrote an op-ed in Outdoor Life magazine in the mid-1970’s about the trouble the Alaskan Pipeline would cause the Barrows caribou. He predicted that it would disrupt the migration route of the Barrows caribou for a maximum of 3-5 years of oil from Prudhoe Bay. The Alaskan Pipeline opened in 1978. It’s still pumping oil from Prudhoe Bay. That’s almost 35 years later.
That’s just part of the consideration for these permits. The biggest reason why fossil fuel permits should be let at a more robust pace is because they make sense economically and environmentally. Permits for renewable energy projects don’t make sense because renewable energy is expensive. People need high-priced energy like they need a heart attack.
It’s a shame that the Obama administration is set in its ways. They’re bypassing the opportunity to stabilize our energy supplies, which stabilizes energy prices. That’s precisely what’s needed right now.
This information should outrage people:
As the table below indicates, BLM’s priority projects would be capable of producing about 44 trillion Btu of energy annually. To put that in perspective, oil wells in North Dakota produced more than 127 trillion Btu in Nov. 2012 alone. That’s almost three times more energy in one month than BLM expects all of its priority wind, solar, and geothermal projects to produce in an entire year. Not only that, but in the last 14 months for which there is data, North Dakota’s energy production, increased by 46 trillion Btus a month. In other words, the increase in North Dakota’s monthly production over the last fourteen months was greater than what the Department of Interior’s pet projects will produce over the course on an entire year. Plus, unlike solar or wind, oil can be used when and where it is needed.
Think about that. The Bakken created 3 times as many Btu’s in a month as these solar and wind projects will create in a year.
Over the course of a year, the North Dakota oil fields would produce 1,524,000,000,000,000 Btu’s. The BLM’s priority projects would create 44,000,000,000,000 Btu’s. That’s a difference of more than 3400%. There’s no justification for the Interior Department’s decision making. There’s only rationalizing their decisions, quickly followed by tons of alarmist-sounding spin.
Considering the fact that the Interior Department is preventing this much economic opportunity, there’s no reason not to rename them the Department of Killing Jobs.