Last updated on: 10/23/2019 11:47:47 AM PST
Should the US Expand Fossil Fuel Extraction on Public Land?
The Bureau for Land Management (BLM) manages 245 million acres of public land, about one-tenth of land in the United States. The BLM says that 26 million acres of federal land was under lease to oil and gas developers as of FY2018, generating an estimated $3 billion. Proponents of oil production on federal lands say that it improves Americans' quality of life by contributing to the US energy supply.
Opponents would prefer to leave oil and gas in the ground due to climate change and environmental concerns. Environmental organizations such as The Wilderness Society argue that too much area is leased to oil and gas developers for fossil fuel extraction (about 90% of public land in western states), and say that not enough land is made available for conservation efforts or public use.
"The previous administration tried to put America's vast energy resources under lock and key. 'We don't want energy.' I don't know what they were thinking. And they tried to put energy producers out of business. But no more. It's a great business. It's a vital business for our country.
We're opening up ANWR in Alaska, one of the biggest sites anywhere in the world...
We're unlocking the full oil and gas potential of the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico...
Since I took office, the United States has increased oil production by over 3.2 million barrels per day. That's an incredible number...
Unfortunately, politicians in California, New York, and other states risk our economy and our national security by blocking vital energy resources from being developed and energy infrastructure, like this, from being built. These states could be ports for shipping energy to our friends and allies, but instead of helping our partners, they’re hurting America.
I have a simple message for these politicians that do such damage to our country: We should be producing energy at home, not enriching foreign adversaries abroad."
Source: Donald Trump, "Remarks by President Trump on Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth | Hackberry, LA," whitehouse.gov, May 14, 2019
"On day one, Biden will use the full authority of the executive branch to make progress and significantly reduce emissions. Biden recognizes we must go further, faster and more aggressively than ever before, by... [p]rotecting America’s natural treasures by permanently protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other areas impacted by President Trump’s attack on federal lands and waters, establishing national parks and monuments that reflect America’s natural heritage, banning new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters, modifying royalties to account for climate costs, and establishing targeted programs to enhance reforestation and develop renewables on federal lands and waters with the goal of doubling offshore wind by 2030."
Source: Joe Biden, "Climate," joebiden.com (accessed Oct. 10, 2019)
"On July 29, I signed the 350 Action’s Day One Pledge, which asks presidential candidates to take four steps their first day in office:
Source: Howie Hawkins, "8/22/19: On Day One, the next President Should Declare a Climate Emergency," howiehawkins.us, Aug. 22, 2019
Not Clearly Pro or Con
"We should sell land owned by the federal government wherever feasible and use the proceeds to liquidate large taxpayer liabilities such as Social Security. This will also force fuel companies to pay market rates for use of the land.
I aim to create an even more level playing field by ending federal government subsidies of all forms of energy. Nuclear energy gets the least. The fossil fuel industry gets many billions of dollars every year. Wind and solar get huge subsidies, relative to the kilowatts of energy they produce. The whole energy industry is driven by crony capitalism, with very little competition.
Nuclear energy is likely to do very well in a competitive marketplace to the detriment of fossil fuels."
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