Energy

Study: Opening Federal Lands To Drilling Worth $663 Billion Annually

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter

Opening federal lands for natural gas, oil, and other drilling would create 2.7 million jobs and add $663 billion to the economy each year for the next 30 years, according to a new study by Louisiana State University and the Institute for Energy Research (IER).

“We’ve seen a steady decline in lease sales year over year in the Obama administration … if not for oil and gas production on private and state lands, there would be no economic recovery,” said Thomas J. Pyle, the President of IER, in a teleconference with the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The permit time it takes to drill on federal lands is over 200 days, that compares with 14 in North Dakota and 4 in Texas. As a result, production on federal lands has lagged behind.”

An executive summary of the study given to The Daily Caller News Foundation estimates that opening federal lands and waters would also lead to $5.1 trillion in new wages and $3.9 trillion in new federal tax revenue over the next 37 years, which would massively stimulate the economy. Over a 30 year period, this would create and support 2.7 million new jobs. More than 75 percent of the jobs would be in high-wage, high-skill employment, and many would be “support” jobs outside the energy industry.

The study is an update and expansion of a 2013 study that estimated that opening drilling would only be worth $450 billion over the next 30 years.

To put these numbers in perspective, the US military budget in 2015 was $598.5 billion.

Despite the lack of open drilling on federal land, the United States became the largest oil and natural gas producer in the world in 2015. This drastic change stems largely from America’s increased production of oil and natural gas due to new hydraulic fracturing techniques.

America controls the world’s largest untapped oil reserve — the Green River Formation in Colorado. Three-fourths of the formations is on federal land so it has remained largely untapped. This formation alone contains up to 3 trillion barrels of oil shale, half of which may be economically recoverable. That’s five and a half times the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia. This single geologic formation could contain more oil than the rest of the world’s proven reserves combined, and American oil production in 2014 was 80 percent higher than production in 2008.

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