Study Contradicts Cheney-Bush Claim of Undue Limits on Western Oil, Gas Drilling
A new study of federal land records finds no evidence for the Bush administration's insistent claims that restrictions on access to U.S. public lands have hampered oil and gas development and led to greater dependence on foreign oil.
In a town meeting in Arkansas on August 3, Vice President Cheney asserted again "weve taken large chunks of the country and put it off limits to any kind of exploration or development...large parts of the Rocky Mountain West are off limits." Cheney blamed this alleged lack of access for the fact that "we aren't producing [oil and gas] here at home".
An extensive investigation by the EWG (EWG) found Cheney's assertion to be little more than myth. "The west has been wide open to the oil and gas industry for the last 22 years," Dusty Horwitt, one of the lead authors, said. "The rhetoric" about lack of access is just an attempt to open especially sensitive lands to friends of the administration."
The EWG study reports that oil and gas interests poured over $75 million into political campaigns, of which 79% went to Republicans. The Bush effort will do little to make the U.S. less vulnerable to foreign energy producers. But, noted Horwitt, it will line the pockets of the oil and gas industries.