While production on state and private lands has grown by almost 65 percent in the past seven years, production on federal lands has increased by about 27 percent, less than half the rate. In total, federal lands now account for only 5 percent of oil production. Daily federal onshore oil production is equal to about one-third of what is produced every day at the Bakken formation alone.
As with offshore drilling, long processes resulting from government inefficiencies create an unnecessary burden on industry. In some cases, waiting for a federal permit can take 10 times longer than it does at the state level. In 2013, the average wait for the federal government to approve a request was 194 days, compared to 27 days in North Dakota, 11 days in Texas, and 45 in Pennsylvania.
The federal government owns nearly one-third of U.S. territory. Congress should consider privatizing some of that land, but in the meantime, transferring the management of federal lands to state regulators would encourage energy resource development on the federal estate while maintaining strong environmental protections. The Federal Land Freedom Act of 2013 (S. 1233 and H.R. 2511), introduced by Senator James Inhofe (R–OK) and Representative Diane Black (R–TN), would do just that by allocating more authority to the states to control their energy future. [Internal citations omitted.] [The Heritage Foundation, May 7]