Shawn Regan of PERC on presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren’s plan to issue a moratorium on fossil-fuel leasing. Writing in the National Review:
Such a policy would mean no new drilling on the 97 million federal offshore acres and 113 million onshore acres that are currently available for leasing. It would also mean no new drilling on areas that are under existing leases, which have ten-year terms and require permits for each well drilled. It could also apply to export facilities and pipelines, such as those transporting new exports of liquefied natural gas, that cross federal streams and rivers deemed “waters of the United States.”
A moratorium would effectively end drilling on public lands and waters, which in 2018 produced more than 2 million barrels of oil per day and 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, generating nearly $9 billion in federal revenue. It would also handcuff America’s private energy sector by limiting its ability to deliver its products to market. “No country in the world has ever abandoned a natural resource of this proven value,” says energy-law professor James Coleman of Southern Methodist University.
It would be a shift from the Obama administration’s program:
Warren’s pledge illustrates just how far Democrats have diverged from the energy and climate policies of the Obama administration. President Barack Obama presided over, and often championed, a rapid increase in U.S. oil and gas production, driven primarily by the rise of fracking, which has enabled the United States to become the largest oil and gas producer in the world. This has led to cleaner air and lower carbon emissions, cheaper energy, less dependence on foreign imports, a manufacturing renaissance, and massive economic benefits to American consumers. By one estimate from the Brookings Institution, fracking has improved the economic well-being of U.S. consumers by roughly $75 billion per year.