Republicans and the White House are battling over whether President Obama deserves credit for oil and natural gas production that has surged on his watch.
Many Republicans claim that Obama, a president facing political headwinds over the botched ObamaCare rollout, is touting a U.S. success story he did nothing to enable.
“They looked at the numbers and they are trying to make good news out of anything nowadays, so they are going to try and take credit for this development, when we all know that this is not because of development on any federal lands,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told The Hill Thursday afternoon.
U.S. oil production is at its highest point in the last two decades, import reliance is dropping, and natural gas production is at record levels.
Republicans frequently point to data showing the surge has occurred largely on the strength of production from shale energy plays outside the regions that Obama’s Interior Department regulates.
“This is because of development on state and private lands, and it has been fabulous, so let’s take advantage of that on the federal side as well,” said Murkowski, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
House Republicans used debate over energy bills on their side of the Capitol this week to hammer the point that the production surge has been centered on state and private lands.
The bills, including a measure to mandate faster drilling permits on federal lands and make more areas available for drilling, are going nowhere in the Senate.
But they gave Republicans a platform to try and counter a White House that has increasingly highlighted the U.S. energy boom in recent days. “The Obama administration is actively and purposely keeping these resources off-limits. Leasing and permitting delays, regulatory hurdles, and ever-changing rules are a few of the reasons energy production on federal lands is in decline,” House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) said during debate.
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