With the exception of his speech at the Florida Everglades last week, President Obama likes to tell virtually every crowd that “America is number one in oil and gas” production. He’s right – but to borrow his line from 2012, he didn’t build that.
A new, nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) report reveals that from 2010 to 2014:
- Crude oil production on state and private lands increased by 89 percent, while production on land controlled by the federal government decreased by 10 percent.
- Natural gas production on state and private lands increased by 21 percent, while production on land controlled by the federal government decreased by 31 percent.
- The federal share of total U.S. crude oil production fell from 36 percent to 21 percent.
The numbers don’t lie: President Obama can’t claim credit for America’s energy boom, or the lower gas prices and jobs it created. Indeed, throughout his political career, President Obama has argued against increasing production, insisting that it would never result in lower prices. He was wrong.
Republicans, on the other hand, have led the charge to empower American energy manufacturers and lower costs for American workers and families. In fact, Speaker Boehner has laid out five key things we can do as a country to capitalize on this energy boom and reset America’s economic foundation for the future.
Our recovering economy still has a long way to go, but there have been some positive signs in recent months. Lower gas prices are certainly a factor, reported Ohio’s Journal-News:
Gas prices … still are more than $1 less than this time last year, and that is driving the economy. … Average gas prices in the Cincinnati area … are still about $1.17 lower than they were a year ago, according to cincygasprices.com. … Economists say the benefits from cheaper gas accrue slowly over time. As a result, changes in behavior are often seen only after three to six months. Drivers will see the lowest summer gasoline prices in about six years, according to the Energy Department.
“[T]he latest drop in energy prices … is disproportionately helping lower-income groups,” The New York Times reported in January. “Some say lower gas prices help fuel [the] local economy,” read a Lancaster Eagle-Gazette headline in early April.
Republicans in Congress are embracing the boom, passing legislation to help keep it going, and urging the Obama administration to get on board. Unfortunately, the White House only seems to be interested in expanding the reach of burdensome regulations and red tape. The president vetoed a bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in February, pledged to veto a bill to help expedite the expansion of American energy infrastructure, and failed to back increasing natural gas exports – something that is vital for jobs and global security.
And as if the Obama administration hasn’t discouraged energy production on federal lands enough, it recently announced plans to increase royalty rates and institute a duplicative rule that will raise production costs.
That’s not going to help strengthen the economy. Americans deserve better, and that’s what Republicans are going to continue to focus on.