The US should adopt an “all-in” energy strategy to meet its energy needs, according to President Barack Obama’s Jobs Council in a Jan. 17 report entitled, “Road Map to Renewal.” The report recommended “expanding and expediting” US production of fossil fuels, including more access to oil, gas, and coal resources on federal lands, while ensuring their safe and responsible development.
The council also urged the federal government to make more areas available for renewable energy development, and to streamline the permitting process for such projects.
“As a nation, we need to take advantage of all our natural resources in order to spur economic growth, create new jobs, and reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil,” the report said. “Over the long term, innovation and technological advancements will greatly reduce America’s reliance on fossil fuels. Until then, however, we need to be ‘all-in.’”
The council also recommended increased efforts to promote energy efficiency and further efforts to reduce US reliance on crude oil for its transportation fuels, including increased government purchases of alternative-fueled hybrid and electric vehicles and federal research programs to give the US an edge in hybrid and electric vehicle technology.
It also called for a permanent tax credit for new energy technology research, development, and deployment; and more funding for research programs at the US Department of Energy and US universities which could come from charging market-rate royalties for onshore oil, gas, and minerals produced from federal lands and other measures.
“This president is committed to an ‘all-of-the-above’ approach in our energy development, which means increasing production here at home, a focus on natural gas and its importance for our energy future, as well as investments in clean energy,” White House Press Sec. Jay Carney said during his Jan. 17 daily briefing.
He noted that the US Department of Interior’s Dec. 14, 2011, offshore lease sale covered more than 21 million unleased Gulf of Mexico acres, while an onshore lease sale in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska offered more than 140,000 acres. “The point of this is that we're absolutely committed to increasing domestic oil and gas production, but to do it in a safe and responsible way,” Carney said.
Congressional Republicans were skeptical. A “hot air alert” from the House Natural Resources Committee’s majority staff said oil and gas production from federal acreage is more than 40% lower than 10 years ago, and that most of the growth has taken place on private land.
“Under the Obama administration, 2010 had the lowest number of onshore leases issued since 1984,” it continued. “The administration had only one offshore lease sale…and narrowly avoided making 2011 the first year since 1953 without an offshore lease sale.”
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