Response to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's Plan to Add Regulatory Hurdles to Domestic Oil and Gas Companies

Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE)
Issue CCXXIX - January 6, 2010
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Today Interior Secretary Salazar held a press conference regarding his plans to add regulatory hurdles to America’s onshore domestic energy development. He has announced a change in oil and gas leasing and development and accused the Bush administration of treating the public lands as the industry’s “candy store.”

Salazar also stated that the previous administration treated the oil and gas industry as the “Kings of the world” and as “handmaidens” of the administration. This administration has “brought this to an end.” He claimed that  the previous administration was not doing it right, as is evidenced by the large amounts of protests in recent years.

The current administration intends to allow oil and gas development in the “right way” and in the “right places.” Salazar acknowledged that this process will create a slowdown in leasing and a delay in the process, but would not directly address questions about economic impact. He stated that the guidance announced today is “appropriate” and does not need congressional approval.

In response to the Secretary of Interior Salazar’s comments, Marita Noon, Executive Director of Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy, says, “One has to wonder how this administration thinks it is going pull America out of the economic abyss we are in when it continually hog-ties true wealth creation.”

Noon continues, “In my home state of New Mexico, we have previously enjoyed a luxury few states have had: a budget surplus. When other states have struggled, New Mexico, one of the poorest states in the country, has been on solid financial footing. How could this be? While New Mexico is on the low end of the economic scale, we are rich in natural resources!”

“However, this has changed. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson’s policies, and those of his appointees, have, little by little, discouraged energy development to the point that companies have pulled out of the state. Those who had planned to invest here—such as uranium companies—have shuttered their offices and laid-off personnel. Now New Mexico has lost jobs and income, and, like America, we are running with a large deficit.”

“When energy development was encouraged in New Mexico, this poor state had operating capital. Now we are a poor state in every sense. When the national policies looked favorably on domestic energy development, our economy was strong. With these new regulations, as announced today, America is discouraging wealth creation and delaying a much-needed economic recovery.”

Noon concludes, “I am continually disappointed, as all American citizens should be, by the attitude coming out of Washington.”

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