Daniel Kish, senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research, an industry-backed think tank, said the administration also could open access to more U.S. resources, either on land or on the Outer Continental Shelf.
“There’s been no breakthrough on any kind of expanded access in the U.S. - in fact, it’s been just the opposite,” he said. “[Interior Secretary Ken] Salazar has basically put on the shelf any expanded drilling. That whole ‘drill, baby, drill’ thing from 2008, the president lifting his moratorium, the Congress lifting the moratorium in the appropriations bill, none of that has come to fruition.”
The Obama administration says it’s been diligent in offering leases. Administration figures show 55.8 million acres were offered for lease in fiscal 2009, including more acres in the Gulf of Mexico than any year of the Bush administration save for 2008.
Also, production of energy on federally leased lands, both onshore and offshore, grew 14 percent in 2009. The administration projects offshore oil production on the Outer Continental Shelf will grow by 20 percent next year.
Subtracting that, Mr. Kish said, Mr. Obama offered fewer acres for lease in fiscal 2009 than any other president in the past 20 years.