Fact Checking the Pro-Obama Fact Checkers

| October 6 2012

(cross posted from Life In GreenLand)

I have had a lot of fun this morning reading the “fact” checks and other debate commentary put out by the environauts.  The lengths to which they are going to give cover to the Obama Administration would almost lead you to believe Obama had done something for them last night.  Almost…

There was David Roberts:

On climate change, it was just as I predicted: nothing. Not a whisper. On energy too, just as I predicted: a series of soundbites recycled from countless stump speeches.

Or Climate Progress’ Stephen Lacey:

If you watched the real-time reaction to the debates, the disappointment among folks within the energy and environment community over the lack of attention to climate was palpable. Even with 160,000 signatures delivered to PBS’s Jim Lehrer calling on him to ask the candidates about climate change, the issue was completely ignored during the 90-minute conversation — continuing a long streak of silence throughout the campaign.

There just wasn’t a lot of joy in Mudville last night as the big O turned in a big zero of a performance – without a mention of their pet cause.

Why, then, are they all trying so hard to help him defend his terrible numbers?

Take, for instance, Lacey’s defense of oil production on federal lands.

According to CRS, production from federal lands is up slightly [emphasis mine] in 2011 when compared to 2007. In addition, the oil and gas industry is sitting on 7,000 approved permits to drill, that it hasn’t begun exploring or developing.

So oil production is up and oil companies are sitting on all these leases, right?  Not hardly.

You see, Obama has been touting record production, not “up slightly” production.  In that regard, and despite both Lacey and Roberts trying to obfuscate, the “record” production is in spite of, not because of, the federal government.

But what about those leases?  Surely those oil leases should be producing, right?

Well, no.  BLM reports that there were approximately 49,000 leases in effect at the end of 2011. That 7,000 leases represents about 14% of all leases.  But people I know in the oil and gas services industry tell me that on average, it takes between seven and nine years to actually get through the regulatory process and begin producing.

So once you have that lease, it’s not like you can stick a straw in the cup and start sucking.  The hassle of fighting the forces that oppose exploration only begins when that lease is granted.  And heaven forbid you discover that lease is home to an obscure bird like the lesser prairie chicken. If that’s the case, your plans for drilling may run headlong into an attempt to make the land a national monument.  Then all that time/energy/money you spent trying to get that lease producing is simply wasted.

Assuming you get through the regulatory process, many of those leases are only granted for a period of ten years.  If you spend 70-90% of that time on regulatory battles, you have precious time left to actually produce.

The other thing Roberts and Lacey failed to note was the decrease of federal leases issued year over year during Obama’s tenure.  At the end of 2008, there were 55,000 leases open.  By the end of 2011, that number had dropped to 49,000.  If trends continue,the number at the end of 2012 could be around 47,000 – a net reduction of almost 15% in just four years.

Any way you slice the figures, the exponential growth in production of oil and gas in this country owes precious little to Obama. In fact, the oil and gas industry is one that has prospered despite Obama’s policies.

But that is exactly why Roberts and Lacey are trying so hard to keep him in office.  Obama, despite his failure to address it, is working hard to pursue the environaut agenda.

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