Is the deficit fix right beneath our feet?
Nearly $130 trillion in oil and gas resources are buried under US government land, worth about 8 times our national debt. But tapping it isn't so easy.
A solution to the country's growing national debt sits right beneath Americans' feet, according to a report from the nonprofit Institute for Energy Research.
That's the $128 trillion in technically recoverable oil and gas resources below 41 million acres of federally owned land, according to the group, which advocates for "freely-functioning energy markets." The chief executive of the group is a former director of policy analysis at Enron.
The "federal government’s mineral estate land holdings surpass the total surface land area of the nation of Canada," according to the report. "These holdings, as we will see, are vastly underutilized."
Most of those below-ground assets are mineral and energy resources, such as oil and coal. Among those hidden deposits are 10.4 billion barrels of oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the continental shelf off the lower 48 states, the report notes.
Right now, the government leases only about 2% of federal offshore areas and 6% of onshore lands.
But tapping those resources isn't so easy.
For one, not all federally controlled lands are open to leasing, as noted by the Congressional Budget Office in a study last year.
Leasing is statutorily prohibited in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, for example, the CBO noted. It estimated that opening the land up to development would lead to about $5 billion in additional revenue over the next decade.
And opening the refuge and other wilderness areas to drilling and mining would undoubtedly spur a backlash from Americans who believe such areas should remain undisturbed by mining and other human activities.
One such group is the Defenders of Wildlife, a national nonprofit conservation organization that advocates protecting the area. According to its site, "the Arctic Refuge is under assault. The oil industry and its political allies continue to launch attacks to open this national treasure to destructive oil and gas drilling, while climate change threatens to disrupt its habitats faster than wildlife can adapt."
It's not as if U.S. taxpayers aren't already benefiting from minerals hidden under the country's federally owned land. Revenue from all oil and gas leases on public lands will amount to $150 billion over the next 10 years, according to the CBO.
With the Institute for Energy Research pushing for greater development, it may be taking the advice of oilman J. Paul Getty, who said, "The meek shall inherit the earth but not its mineral rights."
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The well is already in place so start pumping and give me my mineral rights royalties.
I heard that the government is using the federal land as collateral to china for the money we owe them so we cant even drill on our own land. every thing we are going thru is because of them.
Years ago they asked us to do business in other countries to build them up. and now they are criticizing us for doing what they asked. Mental health problems are there's too we are the only country that has no place to put the mentally ill the government closed them all down.
Obama has rescinded federal leases because he says they are "not being used." There is a reason for that - it's called government red tape and environmental group backlash. Since oil is priced on the world market it probably won't make any difference anyway.
if were selling what we drill on the open market what's the point of drilling. Its not going to go to us.all your going to do is pollute our lands and make oil companies even richer .gee the oil companies wouldn't screw us over for a buck would they?ya think!
we need to suck the life outta this planet..harvest everything now..before some other country does..
then we can gloriously claim..we won..yeh..baby...USA..USA...USA...
it will pay for the financing and mining of the other planets..yeh..baby.. harvest evry damn thing...
and give no-one a break..scum..takers...47%ers what a group of losers..
the 2-3 % ers need to run everything..control everything..have everything..
First of all... whoever said we have all those resources sitting there is exaggerating the statistics. Second, even if we had all those resources on hand it would only drive down prices and kill the market. Third, if we tapped into those resources, it would only take about 500-1000 years to use an sell all of them. It's not a magical answer to our debt.
By the time those resources are finally used, this country will probably not belong to us anyway. I'm thinking China will invade by then.
What this ignores is how many trillions in drilling costs will it take to "prove up" these o&g reserves (my guess $50+ trillion at least). Since she uses the word "resources" rather than reserves for the $130 trillion, this is likely a figure for which a considerable portion is not economically recoverable. Also there are big dollars in lease bonus payments (to the US govt) plus operating expenses to produce these o&g reserves. Then there are severance tax payments to the state govts and ad val taxes to the counties and local school districts. So not as much as one would think ends up in the hands of the o&g producing companies.
The southern portion of the US has the majority of the sour crude refining capabilities for this part of the world. So this is why we receive crude imports and then ship the refined products out.
Lastly there are ZERO subsidies given to the o&g companies...period. There are tax deductions allowed for mid-sized o&g producers for the costs incurred in drilling wells, But this is a "zero-sum-game" in that this recouped after 5 years (i.e. tax deduction taken in the year the well is drilled rather than evenly/equally over a 5 yr period). So this is simply a timing issue. The subsidies are what Obama hands out to solar and wind energy businesses as most are not economically viable.
WHAT MSN REPORTING THAT OBAMA IS HOLDING DOWN CHEAP ENERGY PRODUCTION? WHAT THE? MUST BE ON THE
WRONG NEWS SITE! NO KIDDING SHERLOCKS? WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN? WHY DIDN'T YOU ASK HIM THIS HARD
QUESTION DURING THE ELECTION? STUPID LIBERAL RAG! TO PUSH HIS GREEN EXPENSIVE AGENDA ON AMERICA! DOPES!
DO YOU STUPID LIBERALS SEE THE PRICES SKYROCKETING??? ENERGY FOOD CLOTHES ETC...??? OH THAT'S RIGHT YOUR
ALL ON THE OBAMA FREEBIE BIG GOVT NANNY STATE CHECK TRAIN SO YOU DON'T PAY FOR CRAP THE REST OF US DO!
Pay close attention to the remarks left here by these flatheads.
The oil and gas found here are sold elsewhere, because the oil companies can get more money for it. Even if it is sold here, the world price is what's paid.
Further, the great thinkers of this column haven't been affected by fracking, etc. They'd scream if their water quality went south. It wouldn't occur to them to cheer and say Hooray! We're solving the energy crisis!! They would bitch about their water quality--probably writing to this space.
The Congress has seen to it that banks, insurance companies and oil companies are in charge. Whine about Obama and whomever else you want, but change ain't coming, folks.
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