During Tuesday night’s presidential debate, President Obama claimed, “Very little of what Governor Romney just said is true. We’ve opened up public lands. We’re actually drilling more on public lands than in the previous administration and the previous president was an oil man.” But here are the facts, according to the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land management.
In 2008 under President Bush, there were a total of 55,085 oil and gas leases in effect on federal land. In 2011 under Obama, there were just 49,174, a decrease of 11 percent.
In 2008 under Bush, there were 47.2 million acres of federal land under lease. In 2011 under Obama, there were just 38.5 million, a decrease of 19 percent.
In 2008 under Bush, the federal government approved 6,617 oil and gas permits. In 2011 under Obama, the federal government approved just 4,244 permits, a decrease of 36 percent.
The decrease in oil and gas leases, acres, and permits under Obama has led to a decrease in oil and gas production on federal land. According to the Energy Information Administration, in 2010, 726 million barrels of oil were produced on federal land. In 2011, just 626 billion barrels were produced, a decrease of 14 percent. In 2010, 5,166 billion cubic feet of natural gas were produced on federal land. In 2011, just 4,609 billion cubic feet were produced, a decrease of 11 percent.