DENVER — New government data shows that the amount of oil produced on federal lands is at its highest level since 2003. But despite this clear evidence, the oil and gas industry is seeking to distort and cherry-pick statistics to argue that the federal government is hampering oil and gas development on public lands.
“The oil and gas industry is producing more and more oil across the West, and yet some in the oil industry are misrepresenting statistics to lobby for looser government oversight and even more access onto public lands,” said Greg Zimmerman, Policy Director at the Center for Western Priorities.
Rising oil production on federal land reconfirms that drillers are “following the oil.” Because of low natural gas prices, companies are moving operations away from gas and into oil. Research by the Center for Western Priorities shows that the large majority of shale oil—the driving force behind the oil boom—exists under private property. But, where there is oil on public lands, companies continue to have significant access.
New analysis shows that 90% of all BLM lands are open for leasing, while only 10% are available to be managed for other uses; Montanans press for public information on oil and gas, but state officials say it’s “complicated.”