Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) got a grade-school education on statistics during a recent hearing on oil and natural gas production on federal lands where one expert referred to her claims on greenhouse gases as a “complete falsehood.”
AOC, the ranking member on the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, began Tuesday’s hearing by claiming that that oil and gas production on federal land accounted for a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Going further, she said, this is why the Green New Deal is necessary to wean the federal government off incentives to allow for drilling on public land.
Not so, said Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance. That claim, which was recently reneged by the Interior Department, is based on a misreading of the statistics of greenhouse gas emissions across the country of which only a small portion come from drilling on federal lands.
“I just want to start off by correcting something the ranking member said in her opening statement. She claimed that oil and gas production on federal lands is responsible for about a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Sgamma. “That’s based on a misreading of a USGS study of greenhouse gas emissions. And if you actually look at the numbers, production on federal lands and waters accounts for 0.6% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, not ‘nearly a quarter.'”
The study referenced was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and showed that oil and gas production across the U.S. accounted for 23.7% of carbon dioxide emissions over a 10-year period. However, as Sgmamma notes, the use of federal lands contributes a nearly negligible amount to that percentage.
During her testimony, Sgamma called on Congress to investigate the Interior Department’s stranglehold on future opportunities for domestic drilling on public lands, saying the Biden administration has put up multiple roadblocks that are preventing U.S. drilling companies from unlocking the full potential of domestic energy resources. The result is Americans paying higher prices at the pump as OPEC coordinates production cuts to keep prices artificially high.
“I urge you to submit formal requests for information on the coordination between the Department of the Interior, including its various offices and bureaus, and environmental and activist groups,” Sgamma said in her opening statement. “I believe those requests would uncover a trove of information of inappropriate collusion outside the public eye and outside formal Administrative Procedure Act processes. The information would be very helpful as states and groups like Western Energy Alliance seek to overturn many of these regulations in court, a Herculean task given the sheer volume of them.”