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House leadership to Fossil Fuel industry: Use it or lose it!

June 12th, 2008 · 3 Comments

Tired of the unending truthiness Republican cries to DRILL, DRILL, DRILL in a disingenuous truthiness efforts that turns us (US) aside from discussion of energy efficiency and moving off fossil fuels, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall (D-WV) and others in the House leadership issued an ultimatum to oil companies: Drill on the leases you have or lose the leases!

“Big Oil, as many Americans already suspect, are perfectly fine with high gasoline prices at the pump while they hold back domestic production on federal leases and enjoy world record profits. I am calling them on the carpet. I am calling their bluff. We are not going to continue to allow them to speculate and profiteer with public resources to the detriment of the American people.”

It turns out that massive amounts of leased land, leased for natural gas and oil exploration, are lying fallow. Lying fallow with the potential to double US oil production. In the face of this, Republicans (and Republican stooges like George Will) scream about drilling in national parks and in sensitive off-shore areas.

Just released is the House report The Truth About America’s Energy: Big Oil Stockpiles Supplies and Pockets Profits which highlights some critical points:

Increased drilling and increased drilling permits from 1999-2007 have had a noticeable impact on gasoline prices.

Energy companies are not using the lands already opened to exploration drilling, with about 25% of leased lands involved in energy production.

If we extrapolate from today=s production rates on federal land and waters, we can estimate that the 68 million acres of leased but currently inactive federal land and waters could produce an additional 4.8 million barrels of oil and 44.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day.

If accurate, this is a massive amount, enough to enable cutting imports by a third.

The Responsible Federal Oil and Gas Lease Act of 2008 is a direct response to the facts outlined in the recent House Natural Resources Committee Majority Staff report that illustrate how energy companies are not using the federal lands and waters that are already open to drilling. The legislation is co-sponsored by Reps. Rahm Emmanuel (D-IL), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Ed Markey (D-MA), and John Yarmuth (D-KY).

The Rahall bill would force oil and gas companies to either produce or give up federal onshore and offshore leases they are stockpiling by barring the companies from obtaining any more leases unless they can demonstrate that they are producing oil and gas, or are diligently developing the leases they already hold, during the initial term of the leases.

Coal companies, which are issued leases for 20-year terms, are required, as a result of the Federal Coal Leasing Amendments Act of 1976 to show that they are diligently developing their leases during the initial lease term. The law was enacted in an effort to end rampant speculation on federal coal as a result of the energy crises of the 1970’s.

Oil and gas companies, however, are not required to demonstrate diligent development. Because of this, oil and gas companies have been allowed to stockpile leases in a non-producing status, while leaving millions of acres of leased land untouched. The Rahall legislation directs the Secretary of the Interior to define what constitutes diligent development for oil and gas leases.

Companies could avoid this new lease prohibition by relinquishing their non-producing leases, thus creating an opportunity for another company to explore for and perhaps produce oil and gas.

“As long as oil companies hold oil hostage, they will continue to get away with charging high prices and demanding a greater share of the public’s land. This bill forces their hand by compelling them to produce or hand the over their idle leases for someone who will,” Rahall said.

The message is quite simple: Use it or Lose it!

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Tags: coal · Congress · democrats · ed markey · government energy policy · politics · Uncategorized

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Get Energy Smart! NOW!!! » Blog Archive » Lying to Drill the Hole Deeper // Jul 14, 2008 at 7:16 am

    […] point, new drilling and exploration are not part of a holistic energy package. (In fact, there are huge tracts of land and ocean already leased to oil companies which they have yet to explore and beg….) This is, however, a call for honesty in the discussion and debate. A standard that George W Bush […]

  • 2 Get Energy Smart! NOW!!! » Blog Archive » Offshore Drilling: We Can Choose Simple Confusion or Outright Lies // Aug 2, 2008 at 9:05 am

    […] to this is the “Use it or Lose It” campaign, a core argument (and fact-based) that huge tracts of land and ocean are already leased to oil companies which they have yet to explore and…, thus opening up new areas should not occur until already leased areas are […]

  • 3 Charles Moore // Nov 4, 2008 at 1:03 am

    Congressman Rahall perpetuated a fraud that was created by his House Committee on Natural Resources claiming that 4.8 million barrels of oil a day could be produced from the 68 million acres of nonproducing leases. His claim is completely bogus because the method to derive the amount is a total fraud.

    The fraud was created by the House Committee on Natural Resources, with their June 2008 special report, which was released 18 June 2008. The report provides neither data.or method. I had been trying for 10 weeks to obtain the method. On the rare occasion when someone at CNR would answer the telephone, I was shuffled off to someone else resulting in voice mail and never a return call. Previous attempts through Rahall\’s office were always back to the CNR switchboard. This time I told Rahall\’s district staffer I had been trying for 10 weeks and that I watched Rahall on CSPAN talk about this great openness that now exists.

    The confirmation as to the CNR method was from Katherine Romans, Policy Section, House Committee on Natural Resources. The confirmation started with a 25 September 2008 telephone call to her that was made via Rahall\’s district office. I finally came up with the method on my own and Ms Romans confirmed that I was correct in her 26 Sepember 2008 email to me, which is below
    The Method
    – created a percentage of non-producing acreage to producing acreage for the two lease types, onshore and offshore
    – multiplied each percentage by the amount of daily production from each of the two lease types that produce oil
    – added the two numbers together

    The method is fraud for no one in oil and gas or the government agencies that provide production estimates to the government (US Geological Survey, Energy Information Administration, Minerals Management Service) would ever use such a method. Production estimates are based on estimated reserves, which Mr Feldgus did not use. Production estimates are always given with a low, mean and high amounts, which reflects the uncertainty yet Mr Feldgus issued a single number, which denotes certainty. Production estimates are uncertain because the amount of oil is uncertain and is reflected in reserves being comprised also of three amounts of low, mean and high. The difference between high and low are in the billions of barrels. As a professional staffer who deals with energy matter, Mr Feldgus knows how production estimates are made and why so for him use the method that he did is fraud and he knows it. There is not one shred of validity in the method Mr Feldgus used.

    The amount and method was the creation of Steve Fledgus, staffer on the CNR subcommittee on Energy and Natural Resources. On the afternoon of 2 September 2008, Debroah (subcommittee Energy and Minerals) confirmed to me, by telephone, that the data came from Materials Management Service but did not say what the data was. I called back the same afternoon to the subcommittee and spoke to one of the other two subcommittee female staffers who said Steve Feldgus did the work. I left a voice mail twice with Mr Feldgus for the method but did not return my telephone call.

    America can not continue using oil as we have and we can not produce enough oil to get us to energy independance. New sources of energy are needed as well as increased efficiencies. But oil and gas will still be the dominate sources even in 2030, according to the Energy Information Administration and even the Wilderness Society.

    Though I live in Houston, I do not work in oil and gas and I am not an operative for any group. I am one citizen who delved deeply into the condition of our nation\’s oil and gas.

    Partisan politics is the way the system works because there are different views on issues but that does not give anyone in Congress the right to lie and perpetrate a fraud to further any cause.

    If you want verification, contact HCNR (202-225-6065) and ask for the method and all of the needed data? Also ask them to explain the validity of their method when no other organization would use it

    Charles Moore
    Houston, Tx