Obama takes credit for oil increase, but production on federal land fell
With gas prices soaring on his watch, President Obama is eager to deflect attention from his record of blocking American energy production that would help address the pain at the pump and create jobs. As part of this strategy, the president is trying to take credit for an increase in domestic oil production – a claim he repeated this afternoon in Florida. It’s a nice talking point, but a highly misleading one.
Here are the facts: it is the significant increase in energy production on state and private lands – where Washington has limited control – that is largely responsible for the recent boost in oil production. According to a new non-partisan analysis of government data, oil production on private and state lands jumped by 14 percent during the last fiscal year. Production on federal lands, meanwhile, dropped by 11 percent. Whereas in 2000, federal lands were responsible for 32 percent of total oil production, that figure dropped to 19 percent in 2010. This trend is almost certain to continue given that the Obama Administration’s draft five-year drilling plan prohibits offshore drilling in new areas, and only allows lease sales to occur in areas that are already open.
As for any recent increases in oil production on federal lands, they can largely be attributed to the policies of previous administrations. The Natural Resources Committee has more on this and the president’s other dubious energy claims.
Often quick to assign blame, the White House is stingy about sharing credit. Take the president’s new budget, in which more than half of the proposed savings comes from the Budget Control Act and spending cuts the president opposed for months. In both cases, the administration is trying to take credit when it shouldn’t, distract from the size and scope of the problem at hand, and give itself a pass on coming up with much-needed solutions.
“Rising gas prices drain economic confidence fast,” The Washington Post notes, “as most Americans feel pinched as soon as they fill up their next tank.” Americans deserve the truth about our energy challenges, and solutions that square with reality. That’s why Republicans unveiled the American Energy Initiative last year, and passed several bills to expand domestic energy production as part of the Plan for America’s Job Creators. Learn more at http://jobs.GOP.gov.