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Opening Protected Areas to Drilling Will Not Provide US 'Revenue' Promised by Industry: Report

Common Dreams staff

(Photo: Pete Souza/Chicago Tribune)

According to a new report by the Congressional Budget Office, opening all federal land to oil and gas drilling -- including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge -- would bring modest revenue to the U.S. Treasury over the next decade.

Oil and gas Industry and their friends in Congress have long argued that a removal of oil-and-gas drilling bans that cover many public lands and waters would produce large amounts of revenue for the federal government and help reduce the national debt -- a common selling point.

However, as the report details, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, parts of the Atlantic, Pacific and Florida coasts, and all other targeted public lands would together yield only $7 billion over the next ten years -- significantly less than what has been proposed.

An earlier CBO report released in May found that more domestic drilling does not make America less susceptible to global supply disruptions or price hikes. Instead, the report concluded that the only way to avoid price hikes is to use less oil. Increasing domestic oil production would do little to influence rising gas prices in the U.S. because oil is sold on the global market.

The report states:

"Policies that reduced the use of oil and its products would create an incentive for consumers to use less oil or make decisions that reduced their exposure to higher oil prices in the future, such as purchasing more fuel-efficient vehicles or living closer to work. Such policies would impose costs on vehicle users (in the case of fuel taxes or fuel-efficiency requirements) or taxpayers (in the case of subsidies for alternative fuels or for new vehicle technologies). But the resulting decisions would make consumers less vulnerable to increases in oil prices."

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who requested the most recent CBO report, has not yet responded to the findings.

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