Earlier this week, the Energy Information Administration quietly announced that U.S. oil production hit its highest number in more than 100 years. In fact, it was the largest jump in production since the government started recording this data, in 1900.
With this jump in production, the U.S. continues its status as the number-one producer of oil in the world. The jump in oil production since 2009 allowed us to surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia in output and become the world’s leading producer.
All of this is proof that a balanced approach to oil and gas on development public lands is working — the U.S. is breaking records in oil production, while issuing plenty of permits to drill on federal lands. And it’s proof that we can afford to take a careful look at which places we should protect for other economic values, like the outdoor recreation industry and agriculture.
Despite the good news, some in Washington continue to ignore these facts. They’ve used opportunities like the Interior Department’s budget hearings over the past few weeks as a podium to call for more and more lands to be opened up for production.
With record oil production in 2014, and continued growth expected in 2015 and 2016, now is the perfect time for balance, not to cater to the extremes. With significant oil production comes significant responsibility to westerners, and it’s time to make sure that all economic uses of our public lands—like hunting, fishing, recreation, ranching and conservation– are getting their fair share.