In response to the letter (Jennifer Tesdahl’s) facts vs. opinion commentary about Congresswoman Bachmann’s remarks.
1. In regards to having more oil than Saudi Arabia, Congresswoman Bachmann was referring to the recoverable reserves. The Institute for Energy Research estimates the total volume of technically recoverable oil reserves in all areas of the United States (including technically recoverable oil from shale) to be 1.442 trillion barrels of oil. So, her remarks are factual.
2. In regards to Congresswoman Bachmann’s remarks about oil drilling permits. Since President Obama took office, both the number of new drilling operations started on federal lands and the number of new leases for oil operations on federal lands has decreased, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) data show. In FY 2009, the number of new leases issued fell to 2,072; in FY 2010, the number was lower still at 1,308; and in FY 2011, the number was 2,188. In every year of the Obama administration, the number of new leases issued was lower than in Bush’s last year. So, in regards to a reduction in the number of permits issued, her remarks are factual.
3. In regards to Congresswoman Bachmann’s remarks that most of the energy production is on private lands, a study, prepared by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), examined oil production on federal and non-federal land between 2007–2011. Approximately 96 percent of the total increase in domestic oil production occurred on non-federal land. And earlier this month, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that oil and natural gas production on federal land declined 40 percent over the past decade and 14 percent in 2011 alone. So, once again her remarks are factual.
So, the fact is that Congresswoman Bachmann is trying to increase domestic oil production to lower gas prices. My opinion is, that increased energy production will lower gas prices and will benefit us all. — Steven Shoemaker, Elk River