U.S. underutilizes its mineral resources, energy advocacy group charges

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The federal government doesn't fully utilize its vast land, below-ground and offshore mineral estate holdings – 2.515 billion acres all told, according to the Institute for Energy Research.
 
According to the Center for Media and Democracy SourceWatch, the nonprofit IER is an arm of the American Energy Alliance, which advocates drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and in U.S. coastal waters. The AEA also has a strong link to Koch Industries, the Kansas-based multinational run by Charles and David Koch, brothers who are strong supporters of right-wing causes.
 
The IER estimates the value of recoverable oil and gas resources to be $128 trillion, according to a new report from the group. Opening all those areas to oil and gas leasing could mean $150 billion in royalties, rents and bonuses over a 10-year period, the IER said, citing Congressional Budget Office findings.
 
Again citing CBO research, the IER says coal assets in the lower 48 states are worth $22.5 trillion, making the total worth of fossil fuels on federal lands $150.5 trillion.
 
Below-ground assets, many of them in areas considered by most to be environmentally sensitive, include:
  • 10.4 billion barrels of oil and 8.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
  • 85 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the outer continental shelf of the lower 48, and 25 billion barrels of oil in the outer continental shelf of Alaska.
  • 896 million barrels of oil and 53 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Naval Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.
  • 90 billion barrels of oil and 1,669 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in geologic provinces north of the Arctic Circle.
  • 982 billion barrels of oil shale in the Green River Formation in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
The report also explored what it called $1.66 billion annually in underutilized buildings that "could be sold but for onerous rules that the government has for environmental and structural issues regarding the properties."
 
For more:
- read the IER report
 
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