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Idea of the Day: Protecting Our Public Lands Amid the Energy Boom

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The United States is riding a wave of expanded oil and gas production that exceeds even the most bullish projections made just five years ago. U.S. dependence on foreign oil has dropped to its lowest level in 20 years, thanks to technologies that have unlocked new supplies and the Obama administration’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. U.S. natural-gas production is at an all-time high, while domestic oil production has increased every year since 2008. The International Energy Agency now estimates that by the end of the decade, the United States will surpass Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer.

But along with this boom comes major policy challenges, and we must learn from policymakers’ mistakes in other industries. The signs of a technology bubble, a housing collapse, or a financial crisis seem clear in hindsight, yet when it matters most—when stocks are rising and profits are surging—Washington rarely takes the actions needed to translate a frenzied boom into strong, sustainable growth.

For more on this topic, please see:

  • A Blueprint for Balance by Matt Lee-Ashley, Christy Goldfuss, Jessica Goad, Tom Kenworthy, Nada Culver, Brian O’Donnell, Greg Zimmerman, and Ti Hays

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Katie Peters (economy, education, poverty, Half in Ten Education Fund)
202.741.6285 or

Print: Anne Shoup (foreign policy and national security, energy, LGBT issues, health care, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7146 or

Print: Crystal Patterson (immigration)
202.478.6350 or

Print: Madeline Meth (women's issues, Legal Progress, higher education)
202.741.6277 or

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or

TV: Lindsay Hamilton
202.483.2675 or

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or


This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

For more from the same column, click here