A report requested by President Obama and released by the Department of the Interior shows that much of the land leased onshore and offshore for fossil fuel development are inactive, with no plans for development.
70% of offshore leases – tens of millions of acres in the Gulf of Mexico – and about 57% of onshore leases on federal lands are idle.
President Obama plans to rectify that as part of his goal to cut oil imports by a third by 2025. Read about his Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future.
He’s concerned that rising gas prices could stall US economic recovery in a time of instability overseas.
To do that, he’s focusing on increased domestic production, conservation, and a shift to biofuels and natural gas.
He will push for increased use of natural gas in trucks and buses and construction of commercial-scale biofuel refineries over the next two years, and he is directing the federal government to purchase only alternative fuel, hybrid, or electric cars by 2015.
Higher fuel efficiency standards for cars will be announced this fall, he said, and this summer, a new fuel efficiency standard will be proposed for heavy-duty trucks.
"The United States of America cannot afford to bet our long-term prosperity and security on a resource that will eventually run out," Obama told an audience at Georgetown University. "We can’t afford it when the cost to our economy, our country, and our planet is so high."
"There are no quick fixes," he warned. America "will keep on being a victim to shifts in the oil market until we get serious about a long-term policy for secure, affordable energy."
Obama said the country has to break the "political gridlock and inertia that’s held us back for decades."
He also reaffirmed his support for a national Clean Energy Standard which would require utilities to buy 80% of their power from "cleaner" sources including renewable energy, nuclear, natural gas and clean coal by 2035.
Although he said the Republican rallying cry of "drill baby drill" would do little to provide short-term price relief, he agrees that domestic oil production will have to increase.
But since the US only possesses 2% of the world’s known oil reserves, eventual transition away from oil is a reality, he said.
He also blasted GOP budget proposals to de-fund renewable energy. He said, "Sacrificing these investments would weaken our energy security and make us more dependent on oil, not less. That’s a vision to keep us mired in the past."
Over half the oil consumed by the US is imported. Canada – with its tar sands oil – and Mexico are the two largest suppliers, followed by Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
Tar sands is the dirtiest oil in the world, producing 2-3 times the emissions of conventionally refined oil, while destroying one of the world’s last pristine wilderness and consuming vast amounts of water.
Much of the increase in US energy demand has come from inefficient industrial processes, inefficient buildings and the widespread adoption of inefficient, large vehicles, like SUVs.
As you know if you read our daily news, hundreds of studies have shown that we can cut US oil use by a third JUST from energy efficiency improvements, and we can get the rest of our energy from renewables.
Check out what Dylan Ratigan says at the link below. The Dylan Ratigan Show is holding a three-day energy summit live from Oklahoma on how to free America from mideast oil. It features a diverse array of guests including T. Boone Pickens and Ashwin Madia of VoteVets.Org.