Category — Federal Lands
“Onshore development on federal lands – which is roughly estimated at 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate – is extremely limited and is increasingly so. In 2009, for example, the current administration leased fewer onshore acres for energy development than in any preceding year on record.”
“Offshore development on 1.76 billion acres of mineral lands has suffered from a de-facto administration embargo, with lease plans cancelled, moratoria imposed, and cumbersome regulatory activity that serve to discourage exploration.”
“Today, permitting delays by federal regulators have driven the wait to more than 300 days before drilling can begin on federal lands, about twice as long as it took in 2005. By contrast, states like North Dakota are now turning permits in 10 days; Ohio, 14 days; Colorado, 27 days.”
The United States is an energy-rich country with large quantities of U.S. energy resources found on federal lands. The federal government owns 28 percent of the land in the United States, and a majority of the land in the energy-rich western states. 
The federal government also controls oil and natural gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)—the submerged area between land and the deep ocean. Developing oil and natural gas production on federal lands is becoming more difficult and time consuming. As a result, oil production is decreasing in the federally-controlled offshore areas and Alaska, but increasing on state and privately-controlled onshore areas.
Furthermore, the federal government offers very little of its land for energy exploration or production. In fact, the federal government has leased less than 2.2 percent of federal offshore areas  and less than 6 percent of federal onshore lands for oil and gas production. 
The extent of the government’s energy holdings is little understood. The United States owns roughly 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate onshore throughout the nation. Additionally, it owns 1.76 billion acres of offshore mineral lands, for a total of 2.46 billion acres.
The U.S. government’s mineral estate acreage holdings therefore are larger than the land masses of all nations on earth except Russia and Canada.
February 8, 2013 3 Comments