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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Leases issued don’t equal energy produced

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Interior Department recently issued another bogus report, this time claiming the majority of land leased by oil and gas companies for energy development is not being drilled.

Interior Secretary Kenneth L. Salazar said this month, "We continue to offer new areas onshore and offshore for leasing, as we have over the last three years." Not so fast. In the past three-and-a-half years the Obama White House has actively restricted domestic energy production, in part by slow-walking permit approvals and shortening lease terms. Unsurprisingly the cost of a gallon of gasoline is still nearly double what it was when Mr. Obama took office, and overall energy expenses are skyrocketing for American consumers - all according to administration plan.

What's more, discussing the number of leases issued is deliberately misleading. A lease is not an all-systems-go signal for oil and gas companies; it is a move in the right direction, but only the start of a long, convoluted process deliberately fraught with bureaucratic red tape. If the president were serious about our energy future, he would charge Mr. Salazar with finding out who's responsible for the leasing and permitting delays that keep 97 percent of our federal lands off-limits.

In truth, the White House has only itself to blame for the fact that the United States is not nearly as energy-independent as it could be. Meanwhile, the White House continues its empty rhetoric about the president's so-called "all of the above" energy strategy.

THOMAS J. PYLE

Institute for Energy Research

Washington

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