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The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has indefinitely halted leasing for new oil and gas operations on federal lands and waters.

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While the DOI has stated that “the federal oil and gas program is not serving the American public well,” and is “fundamentally broken,” we disagree with these claims, and know that the program has enabled oil and gas operations to provide affordable and reliable energy to American citizens and help protect the country’s energy security.

These operations create good-paying jobs and contribute billions of dollars to our economy every year, and have helped reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions thanks to an increasing shift from coal to natural gas for electricity generation.

Nearly 25% of U.S. oil and 12% of U.S. natural gas is produced on federally owned land and waters. Banning oil and gas operations on federally owned land and waters could:

  • Eliminate nearly 1 million jobs by 2022 – This would be equivalent to laying off almost every employed person in Houston—a city that had an employed population of 1.083 million as of August 2020.
  • Increase U.S. household energy costs by $19 billion by 2030 – American families depend on affordable energy. Nearly 1/3 American households reported facing a challenge in paying energy bills or sustaining needed heating or cooling in their home in 2015. In the same time period, about 1/5 households reported reducing or forgoing basic necessities like food and medicine to pay an energy bill.
  • Decrease U.S. GDP by $700 billion by 2030 – To put this into perspective, the entire country of Switzerland’s GDP was about $703 billion in 2019.
  • Increase U.S. carbon emissions by an average of 58 million metric tons by 2030 – The decline of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in recent years is in part thanks to an increasing shift from coal to natural gas for generating electricity, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

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