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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Im hoping our strategy is to wait until the rest of the world says "were out" and we go "oh, looks like we had our own all along, $500/bbl, kthxbye" but I doubt there will be much of an America left, were stupid enough to sell the land to china at this point.
Ok so a lot of people don't understand how oil & gas leasing work and how the government would make money from this. There are a ton of erroneous comments in here. here's how it works if you want to understand it
The o&g companies lease the land from the government, somewhere from $1-2000 an acre for the "right" to explore and develop the minerals. The government gets also gets a % of the well but they dont have to put any money into exploration or deployment in the form of "Royalties". usually around 12.5%
the o&g company spends all the money, gets the o&g out of the ground then send s check to the royally owner in the mail, in this case its the government for 12.5% of the revenue made on the well. The % can vary by the area.
Shhhhhhhh don't announce that.
Congress might hear about it and spend it while its still in the ground.
The State of PA has granted schale gas companies tax wavers for several years. The money lining the political offices out weighs the peoples choices. So how would this benefit the defecit !
The oil companies will make all the profit and the deficit will remain high.
Oil is set on the world market and not by the countries that produce the oil.
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