On Oil and Gas Both Romney and Obama Were Economical with the Truth


You did too.

How do you know when a politician is lying? His lips are moving.

Last night's townhall debate between Obama and Romney proved the truth of that bitter old joke on many levels. But let's just look at one assertion by Mitt Romney regarding Obama's energy production policies:

And the president's right in terms of the additional oil production, but none of it came on federal land. As a matter of fact, oil production is down 14 percent this year on federal land, and gas production was down 9 percent. Why? Because the president cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands, and in federal waters.

To which Barack Obama replied:

We've opened up public lands. We're actually drilling more on public lands than in the previous administration and my—the previous president was an oil man.

With regard to permits, below is what I reported when I analyzed the Democratic Party's Platorm looking at its various scitech planks:

What about drilling? President Obama correctly claims to have opened millions of acres to drilling for hydrocarbons. But how does that compare with previous administrations? In its first three years, according to the Bureau of Land Management, the Bush administration leased 8.8 million acres for oil exploration and production, compared to 5.3 million for the Obama administration. The Clinton administration leased 11.4 million acres in its first three years.

What about the total number of new wells drilled on federal lands? The first three years of the Bush administration saw 9,276 new wells drilled, whereas under the Obama administration 9,693 wells were. Just as a comparison, during the global oil price run-up during the last three years of the Bush administration 15,095 new wells started producing. After the BP oil rig blowout, President Obama closed drilling on most of the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts.

What about Romney's claim that oil and gas production is down on federal lands? In Congressional testimony [PDF] in August, Adam Sieminski, the head of the Energy Information Administration stated:

U.S. oil production declined from 5.7 to 5.0 million barrels per day from Fiscal Year (FY) 2003 to FY2006. It remained about flat for the next 2 years, before rising to 5.6 million barrels per day in FY2011.Oil production on non-Federal lands (State and private) decreased from FY2003 through FY2007 by 419,000 bbl/d, remained relatively flat from FY2007 to FY2010, and then increased by 385,000 bbl/d in FY2011 largely because of increases in oil output in North Dakota and Texas. That growth was the result of increased horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the tight oil plays.

Total oil sales of production from Federal and Indian lands, including the Federal OCS [outer continental shelf], increased from 1.6 million bbl/d in FY 2008 to 2.0 million bbl/d in FY 2010, but decreased to 1.8 million bbl/d in FY 2011. The most recent data reflect the impact and aftermath of the 2010 Macondo blowout in the Gulf of Mexico….

Production on non-Federal lands has increased steadily from FY2005 to FY2011 by 16.4 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d), largely because of shale gas resources (Figure 11). Total natural gas sales of production from Federal and Indian lands have decreased each year since FY2003 primarily as production has declined in the Federal OCS. Based on EIA's latest figures for natural gas production in FY2011, the Federal sales share was 21 percent, down from a high of 35 percent in FY2003 (our earliest available data).

Have the number of drilling permits issued for federal lands declined under Obama? According to data [PDF] from the Bureau of Land Management the answer is that there was been about a 42 percent decline in the number of leases and a 37 percent decline in new permits issued by the Obama administration when compared to the last three years of the Bush administration.

Despite the reduction in permits and leases under Obama, Romney is wrong to claim that production on private lands accounts for all of the recent increases in oil production in the United States.

When all is said and done, it is reasonable to conclude that both politicians were being economical with the truth in this case.

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  1. Here’s where no Johnson hurts the debates. He could call them out on these kinds of statist quo lies/misdirections (yes, I said statist quo). Or, at least, highlight that conventional TEAM BE RULED wisdom isn’t the only option for this country.

    1. Uh, from the TEAM perspective, that is one of the primary reasons they made sure GayJay wasn’t in the debates. Can’t have someone who isn’t a megalomaniacal power seeker muddying the waters.

      1. I meant that it hurts us. Naturally, the powers that be don’t want an actual debate.

        1. I just noticed that this thread is chock full of filthy lawyers. You’re taking over!

          1. Because you love us. You vote for us, you make it so only we make money in lawsuits, and you allow the most convoluted laws to pass, that can only be interpreted by lawyers.

            For all of us, thank you.

            1. Who is we, filthy lawyer? I don’t vote, especially not for lawyers, and I don’t do any of the other things you mentioned either.

              You can pin that shit on someone else. Oh, by the way, ProL, my bail hearing is tomorrow and I need you to show up.

              1. Ah, so you passively allow lawyers to dominate every aspect of your existence? Just who do you think denies you flying cars and robot prostitutes?

                1. The Stonecutters, dumbass.

                  1. Sure, but you know what? They’re all lawyers, too.

                    1. It’s lawyers all the way down!

            2. “The first thing we do, let’s thank all the lawyers.”

              Shakespeare, Henry VI

          2. It’s not all filthy lawyers Epi.

            For example, I am an appraiser. And as such, I am uniquely qualified to tell you how worthless everything truly is. It’s a gift.

      2. You think Gay Jay isn’t on a megalomaniacal power quest?!?

        He’s a professional politician.

        1. I agree. He just isn’t on their scale.

          1. Maybe. Or maybe he is just a smarter liar. I would never say that anyone who actually wants to be President bad enough that they spend years of their life trying to make it happen is not on a power quest.

            I suspect Johnson would disappoint his supporters once in office just as much as the other two would theirs.

            1. Therefore, VOTE FOR ROMNEY, right?

            2. I doubt anyone could be more of an asshole who fulfills none of his promises than Romney or Obama. I’m just guessing here, but I think at least GayJay would try a few things (and get stopped cold by Congress).

              1. A truly libertarian president could do some serious damage to the system, which, as currently configured, really requires a statist-compliant president.

                1. Sadly, ProL, I doubt that. The bureaucracies all but control policy at this junction. While there are things a libertarian can do to stifle and stall regulators, the march to an increasing regulatory state is bigger than the two parties.

                  What a libertarian could do is make serious entitlement reform the centerpiece and sole policy objective of his (or her) administration. That alone would offer us hope of not collapsing into the fiscal wormhole we’re on a crash course with, and thereby save the republic (whether it is worth saving is another topic). But the bureaucracies will march on in their efforts to destroy the private sector altogether.

                  1. What Sudden said. The only way to kill government is through Congress. The Presidency is a overrated

                    1. Congress itself won’t manage to cut it either so long as the bureaucracies remain. The only way Congress could cut it conceivably would be through drastic cuts to bureau appropriations. Fat chance of that.

                  2. There is a tremendous amount of power wielded by the White House through the OMB, which could gum up the works for many agencies without any help from anyone else. Not to mention vetoes, pardons, appointment power, war power, and the increasingly vast powers deemed inherent to the presidency.

                    Not to mention, each branch is equally empowered to determine the constitutionality of laws and actions, and a sitting president can, out of nowhere, come to a different conclusion than his predecessors or the other branches.

                    1. War powers, vetoes on new horrible policies and expansions of the civil service, pardons, and executive power, yes a libertarian POTUS could have some small effect.

                      Appointment power is overrated. The appointed heads of the bureaus would order whatever crap reports/policies/edicts currently being devised be stalled, but those same things would be resurrected the second TEAM BE RULED got back into power.

                    2. Drone strikes on the home residences of a few uncooperative representatives and senators would have a little bit of influence I imagine.

                2. I think that in the advent of a libertarian president, Congress would suddenly grow some balls regarding how much power they had versus the president.

                  1. I’ve always thought that a libertarian president would last a few months before they tried to impeach him for freeing the druggies or something like that.

              2. it is all relative. Johnson would disappoint his supporters. But he would still disappoint his supporters less than Romney or Obama would disappoint them.

              3. I think at least GayJay would try a few things (and get stopped cold by Congress).

                I think that would be the biggest obstacle for any 3rd party president to overcome: a congress full of Rs and Ds who ALL hate him. Luckily though the two retard parties have spent the last 80-100 years increasing executive authority to the point where a president can do a lot without congressional support, but still not enough to unilaterally undo all of their douchebaggery.

                1. Loki,

                  Congress could reign in that executive power in an instance if it chose to.

                  1. No doubt, but probably not before the 3rd party president has done at least a few things. Like issue a few executive orders, re-scheduling certain drugs, disolved a few cabinet positions, etc. If push came to shove though, I suspect that it wouldn’t take long for a coalition of statist asshats of both varieties to come together and, in a “bi-partisan” manner, impeach and remove office the 3rd party interloper. For the good of the childrenz, of course.

                    And of course, the next president would summarily undo all the things the “crazy nutjob” did, thereby restoring the “natural order”.

            3. Or maybe he is just a smarter liar

              If that was the case he would be the Republican nominee, not Mitt Romney.

        2. Relatively speaking, not so much. He may get off on being in charge, but wanting to slash government is not a good path to total power.

          Serious question: If Romney or Obama could take over as total authoritarians, with no risk of the coup not working, would they do it?

          1. I am not sure about Romney. Not because I doubt his ambition or think that he is something special but simply because he is so squeaky clean. The man doesn’t even drink coffee!

            Obama? That isn’t a serious question.

          2. Evidence strongly suggests that Obama would. Things like oversight and transparency and checks on his power seem to be petty annoyances.

            Dunno about ROMNIAC. But I imagine anyone who’s in it to win it would gladly take on the beret and graded sunglasses of unlimited power.

            1. Yes, I’m still not sure whether Romney would wield the Ring or not. Obama, I have no doubts about.

              I suppose that’s a minor point in Romney’s favor, though we’re just talking perception here.

              1. Obama’s head is eerily shaped like Smeagol’s in the movies (I know I committed a sin by referencing the movies, but I shall not repent).

              2. The ROMNIAC 9000 series is the is the most reliable computer ever made. No 9000 has ever made a mistake or distorted information. They are all, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error.

                ROMNIAC will not wield the ring, provided of course Mormons have not given him contradictory and unresolvable programing instructions.

          3. but wanting to slash government is not a good path to total power

            But… but… KORPURATIONZZZZ!!!! It’s all part of the plan.

        3. No one would cut him any slack. TEAM GOLD Libertarians already dislike him b/c of the Fair Tax, private prisons, Ugandan intervention; moderate/incrementalist libertarians don’t like him enough to make excuses for him if he were to go statist. The media would hate him because not 4 da childrenz or his Jesus deficit.

          Were he in office, he’d get much less slack from anyone. As it should be.

          1. It doesn’t matter who is in the White House–we shouldn’t trust him.

            1. You could trust me in the White House. Yes, you could and definitely should trust me in there. Ha. Haha. Mwahahahahahahaaaaahhhaaaaaaa.

              Excuse me, I was just remembering last week’s Friday Funnies.

              1. Well, I could trust me in the White House.

                1. You could trust that if I were ever to find myself in the White House I’d implement enough of the libertarian agenda to get myself impeached and removed from office in short order.

          2. I agree BP. Johnson would never be pure enough for his Libertarian supporters and would always be too Libertarian for anyone else.

            1. I’d be happy (for now) with just a pro-economy president who wasn’t godawful on everything else.

              1. So would I. Or how about just not too awful? Maybe for years of forgettably lousy. That sounds better than historically oh my God the country cannot survive any more of this awful.

      3. Can’t have someone who isn’t a megalomaniacal power seeker muddying the waters.

        that’s about it.

        When you have seven people on a panel arguing about how the government is going to do such-and-such, it fucks up the structure of the debate when there’s some whacko over in the corner saying that the government shouldn’t be involved at all.

        The moderators haven’t formatted the questions correctly– the whole thing is completely unprogrammed to work in such a situation.

  2. But here are the facts, according to the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land management.

    In 2008 under President Bush, there were a total of 55,085 oil and gas leases in effect on federal land. In 2011 under Obama, there were just 49,174, a decrease of 11 percent.

    In 2008 under Bush, there were 47.2 million acres of federal land under lease. In 2011 under Obama, there were just 38.5 million, a decrease of 19 percent.

    In 2008 under Bush, the federal government approved 6,617 oil and gas permits. In 2011 under Obama, the federal government approved just 4,244 permits, a decrease of 36 percent.…..le/2510988

  3. Has the sudden explosion of Fracking had any effect on these numbers?

  4. Despite the reduction in permits and leases under Obama, Romney is wrong to claim that production on private lands accounts for all of the recent increases in oil production in the United States.

    So what? As RC points out above, Obama has reduced the amount of land under lease by 19%. That the remaining land is producing more is really besides the point. The point is that Obama wants to lease less land and really doesn’t care if production increases. Whatever increase there was on public lands was in spite of Obama not because of him.

    1. Seems like Obama did his best to lower the amount of oil drilling, but those tricky operators figured out how to wring more oil out with their new-fangled technology.

      So in keeping with the usual media assessment of Obama, the obvious conclusion is that Obama’s policies lead to major advances in oil extraction technology.

  5. The Republicans keep mentioning the problems in the coal industry without ever mentioning that the real reason for their problems has more to do with the massive drop in natural gas prices making coal uncompetetive than it does with regulation. “Reasearch into clean coal technologies” is just a euphemism for government subsidies to a coal industry that’s no longer competetive.

    1. That’s a factor, sure, but so is the massive increase in deadweight costs imposed by the EPA.

      1. Natural Gas has an energy density of 54 MJ/kg, Coal has an energy density of 33 MJ/kg. Coal is currently trading at 10 cents per kilogram vs. natural gas at 9 cents per kilogram.

        So with coal you’re paying more for less energy. It doesn’t matter if energy was completely deregulated, it’s just not competetive anymore.

        1. But you are talking about marginal costs here and what may be a short term market fluctuation. No way does that slight savings justify tearing down an existing coal plant and replacing it with a new gas one.

          Look at it this way, if Diesel dropped to five cents a gallon cheaper than gas, would it make sense to spend $3000 replacing the gas engine in your car with a diesel one? Unlikely.

          1. No way does that slight savings justify tearing down an existing coal plant and replacing it with a new gas one.

            If you already own a coal plant probably not. But if I don’t own one and I am looking to get into energy, it makes sense for me to build a new natural gas plant. And suddenly I’m undercutting you and you’re increasingly have trouble finding buyers. There’s a reason while the existing coal and oil companies are one of the big financers of anti-fracking campaigns; they’re trying to protect themselves from a new energy source they can’t compete with.

            1. That is true going forward. But the EPA is forcing companies to tear down their existing coal plants.

              1. Well maybe they should be shutting them down. Coal’s business model is based on being able to dump hazardouse waste onto land owned by other people without permission or compensation. That’s like saying the police are anti-waste hauler because they won’t let me dump my garbage on your front lawn whenever I feel like it.

    2. Not true. The EPA is forcing the closure of dozens of coal plants. You can’t switch from coal to gas without building a new plant. Unless natural gas becomes free, it is unlikely to make sense to close a coal plant and replace it with a gas one. The EPA is destroying coal as an energy source.…..s-gao-says

      1. The EPA is destroying coal as an energy source.

        As well they should. Getting coal out of the ground is dangerous, destructive to mountains and the enviornment. Burning it is even worse as it releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, heavy metals into the ground, and causes traffic backups because of the long trains that move it from mines to plants. I say good riddance to the nasty stuff.

        1. And if you were to be buying coal plants with your own money in order to close them, I would have no quarrel.

        2. It is wildly cheap and efficient. And the people who mine it voluntarily assume the danger of doing it. They like doing it and would rather have the risks and a job than no job.

          And expensive and unreliable electricity does a lot more harm than a few strip mines out west.

          1. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they “like” doing it. I recall reading once that someone tried to argue with John L. Lewis, the legendary president of the United Mine Workers, that the pressure he was putting on the mine owners was likely to result in lots of mechanization and ultimately to an end to employment of human beings to mine coal. His response was along the lines of “That would be great! Mining is lousy work, and no one should have to do it.” Before he became a union organizer, Lewis actually worked in the coal mines, so I’m guessing he knew what he was talking about.

        3. Ok, I should have put the /sarc tag on this. I was hoping the “long trains” would have done it.

          I have no problems with coal, or any other energy source as long as people are using their money to get it and not relying on the gov to keep them in business. I actually work in the oil/gas industry.

      2. You can’t switch from coal to gas without building a new plant.

        Is that true? I would think it’s just the boiler that has be changed. It’s steam that makes the turbines spin.

        1. Good question.

          1. Yes, you can do it. Here is a white paper on it.


  6. http://andrewsullivan.thedaily…..lated.html

    Andrew Sullivan grasping at straws, is “Bloody elated” (Is this braindead fuck even British?) about something or other from last night.

    And of course, HuffPo goes with stories that were written prior to last night’s debate, and would’ve been published even if Obama walked on stage, took a dump on the stage and wiped his ass with an American flag.…..70693.html

    1. So it turns out that, yes, Sullivan is British. Which makes me slightly less depressed about the state of American public education.

    2. Both the CNN and the MSNBC focus groups of undecided voters, whoever they are, both showed them going towards Romney.

      No matter how you score the debate, an hour and a half of national television time talking about the economy, the budget, and Libya is not going to end well for Obama.

      1. I mentioned this in another thread, but I participated in a poll where “Don’t know/other” was the only alternative to Obama and Romney. Since I’m definitely voting for Johnson, that puts me in the mealy-mouthed “Don’t know” category, even though I danged well do know.

        1. No it puts you in the “other” category. “Don’t know/other” is an “or” not an and.

          1. Yes, but when they report on the responses, I bet they lump us all into the “Don’t know” category without calling out that some respondents may be voting third party. It’s misleading, if so.

        2. Don’t Know and Other should be two distinct categories.

          Don’t Know is code for saying, I have even less of a brain than the fucking partisans.

          Other says I have more of a brain than all of you idiots and can see through the fucking ruse.

          Those two categories couldn’t be further apart.

      2. According to NPR, the Libya discussion “should have been a problem for Obama, but he turned it into a high point for his administration”.

          1. Freedom is Slavery, Up is Down, Laverne is Squiggy.

    3. The “Bloody elated” line was accurate. He was elated. And the bloody came from the placenta he was examining to see if it belonged to either Bristol or Sarah Palin.

      He has a collection. It is morbid.

      1. He is such a beardo douche. Sullivan may be the most physically and morally repulsive man on earth.

        1. Krugman would like a word.

          1. Krugman probably wins on points for morally repulsive. But Sullivan has the physically repulsive category hands down.

          2. And a trillion dollar stimulus…

          3. Beard Duel!

            Sullybear climbs out of the hammock, sets down the beagle and attacks! Kruggie sets dwon the latte, take the elevator down from his floor at the NYT Building and responds.

            Refereed by Spocks Beard.

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