Obama Administration Energy Blueprint: Paying Companies to Drill
By Amy Mall
Last week the Obama Administration issued a new energy blueprint. There are some excellent elements in the White House proposal, including doubling renewable electricity generation by 2020, cutting energy waste and supporting energy efficiency.
But there are also dirty and depressing energy proposals in the plan. Among them: "monetary incentives to get oil and gas leases into production." We haven't seen details on this yet, and need to learn more, but the oil and gas industry doesn't need more giveaways from the taxpayers.
In FY 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) leased more than 1.75 million acres of federal oil and gas resources. That is in one year alone. So far in FY 2013, it has already has seven more lease sales across the country. This administration is already moving full speed ahead with dirty oil and gas leasing.
As I recently blogged, the BLM's own internal investigation found that the agency is unable to properly inspect oil and gas activities or enforce its own rules on the current leased areas. This investigation found a lack of enforcement, inadequate inspections and overall low-quality environmental review as office struggle to keep up with exploration and production activity.
And as my colleagues have blogged, while BLM is going to be proposing new rules for fracking under federal leases, the rules may be much too weak to protect America's drinking water. As the largest manager of oil and gas resources in the U.S., the BLM needs to do better.
A new energy plan is needed, but the focus should be on efficiency and renewables so we can have a clean energy future, with clean air and clean water. America doesn't want the oil and gas industry's dirty energy future. The administration plan also includes an electronic, streamlined oil and gas permitting system; modernization is welcome, but any streamlining of permitting should not shortcut the necessary environmental review.
If you'd like to know where all this new oil and gas leasing is taking place, our intern Cathy Lu made a great map to show how many acres were leased in each state in FY 2012 alone: