Interior report: Energy development on federal lands created 1.5 million jobs

On Monday, Obama’s Department of Interior released a new report detailing how energy development on federal lands helped to create 1.5 million jobs and contributed $275 billion to the economy in just the last fiscal year. To that, I have only one thing to say: Ya’ think?!

The Interior Department claimed its activities contributed a total of $385 billion to the economy in fiscal 2011, with energy development comprising more than 71 percent of that amount.

So, all of that wealth and economic growth created as a direct byproduct of the federal government allowing some of “its” (a.k.a., our) lands to be developed for energy production — was it because of all of the permits that the Interior Department has lately given out for solar panels? Nein. Granted, conventional fuels are obviously much larger industries with larger operations, but given the track record of the Interior Department’s regulatory partner-in-crime, the Department of Energy, on gifting solar companies with loan guarantees, I find myself obliged to wonder what the Interior Department is doing playing politics with our lands at all:

Oil, gas and coal production were the biggest economic drivers for Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, generating an estimated economic contribution of $119.6 billion last year and supporting 558,976 jobs, according to the report. Wind energy on federal lands added $100 million in economic activity, along with 688 jobs. On-site solar construction yielded $1.4 billion in economic activity to go with 6,747 jobs.

Interior said renewable energy, and especially wind and solar power, will play a larger role in the nation’s energy production in the years ahead. It cited a Bureau of Labor Statistics report that said job growth in renewable production is possible despite an overall decline in utility jobs through the end of the decade.

Yes, no doubt wind and solar will play a larger role in the nation’s energy production in the years ahead — especially if the Obama administration continues to subsidize them like there’s no tomorrow, with money we don’t have.

This report is just a taste of what we’re missing out on while the Interior Department continually takes Americans out of the game by keeping such a tight hold over the use of our federal lands. As much as the Obama administration likes to tout that they’ve opened up new areas for drilling at a reasonable and responsible pace, the reality is that the rate of federal permitting has generally declined during Obama’s tenure. Instead of allowing Americans to tap into our abundantly available resources, creating jobs and economic growth at no expense to the taxpayer, the Obama admin insists upon pouring our money down the green-energy pipeline and then yelling about the munificence of their romantic clean-energy notions. It’s nothing but a poorly-orchestrated waste of everybody’s time and money.

ICYMI, Team Obama recently released their five-year plan for domestic drilling. If you were hoping that the Obama administration was finally planning on reversing course on its coventional-energy-hatin’ ways and allowing private-sector American ingenuity to bolster our flailing economy with much-needed jobs and growth… you can stop now.

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