Oil and Gas Industry – not government regulations - denying more than 50,000 jobs to the West’s economy

Jun 6, 2012

Despite industry claims that government regulations are slowing job creation, the oil and gas industry could be creating more than 50,000 jobs with federal drilling permits they currently aren’t using, according to The Wilderness Society’s analysis of industry jobs data.

“There are over 7,000 unused but approved drilling permits for Bureau of Land Management lands held by the oil and gas industry – each of those permits is a well that isn’t being drilled.  The industry’s own data claims that each well creates between 7 to 9 jobs – that’s over 50,000 jobs that they could create, today, right now, that for whatever reasons they aren’t using,” said Dave Alberswerth, senior energy policy advisor for The Wilderness Society.

The Western Energy Alliance – an industry lobbying group  – recently claimed in arguing for more drilling on federal lands that there are “…9.74 workers per well for Wyoming and 7.18 for Utah.”  While their study criticized the federal government for not approving more drilling permits, BLM data shows that there are 1,028 approved but idle permits in Utah, and 3,558 idle but approved permits in Wyoming.

“With more than 7,000 approved but idle BLM drilling permits that the industry is not using, the idea that government policies are holding up drilling on federal lands is almost comical," said Alberswerth.

U.S. House majority leadership is announcing a raft of drilling bills for the House floor action this month that would mandate increased production from federal lands, limit environmental review of drilling plans, and discourage Americans from participating in drilling decisions, for example, by  charging communities and individuals $5,000 to have a voice in drilling decisions that would affect them.

“Lawmakers should be asking the industry why they aren’t using the thousands of federal drilling permits they are hoarding, rather than insisting on passing bills that will put our environment at risk and penalize taxpayers for participating in decisions about how best to manage the public lands that they own.”