Analysis by Energy Workforce Senior Vice President Government Affairs & Counsel Tim Tarpley
The Biden administration issued an executive order directing the Department of Interior to pause new leases for onshore and offshore oil, gas, and coal production for one year. During this period, the Department of Interior will conduct a large-scale study of the benefits of the leasing program to taxpayers to determine a long-term path forward.
This new moratorium is of grave concern to Energy Workforce and our membership. First, and perhaps most important, this order could increase our nation’s carbon output. According to the Energy Information Administration, America’s shift from coal to natural gas reduced CO2 emissions by more than 2.8 billion metric tons since 2005. This is the largest source of energy-related carbon savings during that time.
Given that currently 12% of U.S. natural gas production occurs within federal lands and waters, this move could, over time, deny America access to one of the best tools to lower carbon output. Without the natural gas produced on federal lands, gas-powered electricity generation could decrease from 40% to 14% by 2025.
Job losses from this action across the country could be severe. Analysts say drilling on federal lands supports 145,000 jobs in New Mexico, 609,000 in Pennsylvania, and 700,000 in Ohio. The Biden order will eventually put a significant portion of these jobs in jeopardy. Additionally, the drilling program generated $11.7 billion in tax revenue for the federal, state, local and tribal governments last year, according to the Interior Department’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue.
Energy Workforce has launched a robust response against this decision by the Administration. We have partnered with fellow oil and gas trade groups to target potential allies in the House and Senate to slow or alter this new moratorium and its far-reaching effects. Our focus is on jobs, the beneficial role natural gas plays in reducing carbon, and advantages of domestic energy production. Energy Workforce has been meeting with multiple members of Congress who are potential allies of ours on this issue and will continue to keep our members up to date on our efforts.
If you would like to get involved in Energy Workforce advocacy efforts on this, or any other, issue, please contact Senior Vice President Government Affairs & Counsel Tim Tarpley.