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."
More on moneyNOW
Volcanoes and Forest Fires cause natural global warming climate change shifts that have existed and taken place many times before the birth of mankind or any use of fossil fuel. Does producing CO2 speed this process? More than likely yes, but fossil fuel is not "responsible" for climate changes.
A great transfer of wealth has occurred out of this county by buying these energy sources from the middle east and other parts of the world. Energy independence will start with domestic production of oil, gas and coal and as market conditions dictate, the economic viability of alternative "Green?" energy will be developed.
Our current administration does not understand how much this could help the US. Things like blocking the Keystone pipeline hurt all of us. I guess they don't realize there are hundreds of thousands of mile of pipeline that have not ruined the environment. Drill baby.
Russia is the largest country and Canada is the 2nd largest country in the world. These idiots say that the federal government owns more mineral resource land rights that is larger than the nation of Canada. Let me get this right... these guys don't know something as fundamental as the land area of Canada. If you believe this report, you will believe anything.
As long as Obama and the Progressives hold the whitehouse we will not be drilling. And if we do Obama will just tax it and spend . The American deficit or the money stolen from Seniors Social Security fund would never see a dime. We have a government that wont stop
feeding on its own people.
We are in real trouble with the debt we are in but we do have the means to pay it off and just as this article states, the federal government is sitting on it. I agree that oil companies are evil but the jobs that would be created would be good paying and could not be outsourced to India. I say, open up the land, take away the subsidies from the oil companies. It will have an enviromental impact but if we don't do something about our national debt our kids and grandkids will have a whole lot more to worry about then where they can take a hike without seeing something man made.
If the government claims that there are $140 trillion, then you can multiply that by 3 to 4 time and come up with a figure that is more accurate. Just imagine the enviromental groups have held up every project of federal lands and we have only used 6% of the land. This development on private lands will furnish enough energy so we probably won't nedd access to federal lands. With all the money involved the developement on private land will not be stopped by environmental claims. Notice, I didn't say actual proven claims of fresh water pollution, I said claims of damage. It has been proven that fracing has caused damage to fesh water formations. One lady wrote on a pro-fracing site that her water well was damaged by a well drilled 7 miles away. You would be lucky to push water a 100 feet with the fracing job, 1000 ffeet impossible without a nuclear explosion to force the water, 1/2 mile impossible by any man made force (except a nuclear explosion). This ladies claim of damages is the exact reason oil companies aren't to worried about claims of damages.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices remain pinned to their lows with the Russell 2000 (-1.1%) showing the largest loss that has placed the small-cap index back below its 200-day moving average (1144). The Russell 2000 has been battling with that key level during the past two weeks and is now on course to finish the month below its 200-day moving average.
For its part, the S&P 500 (-0.8%) has dipped to its 50-day moving average (1953), which represents the first test of that level since ... More
More Market News
3 stocks will be in the spotlight Thursday as investors try to make sense of the numbers from the sector.
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'