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The American Energy Initiative: A Focus on Growing Differences for Energy Development on Federal vs. Non-Federal Lands

Testimony Before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Power

SOURCE: Flickr/Nick_Pedersen

A balanced approach to managing the public lands and waters that belong to all Americans is necessary for our health and enjoyment. Oil and gas development can be an appropriate use of some of these lands, but it must not come at the expense of hunting, fishing, recreation, and an overall healthy environment.

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CAP Public Lands Project Director Christy Goldfuss testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Power. Read the testimony (CAP Action)

Chairman Whitfield, Ranking Member Rush, and members of the committee, thank you very much for the opportunity to testify today. It’s a real honor.

I am Christy Goldfuss, Director of the Public Lands Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of Americans by transforming progressive values and ideas into policy. We develop and support land management practices for our 700 million acres of taxpayer-owned land that result in sustainable development of our natural resources while conserving lands to support clean air, clean water, and our American heritage.

Let’s start where most of us agree—oil and gas development is an appropriate use of our federal lands. It’s essential for our national security to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil, and we are making significant strides in that direction. For the first time in 14 years, the United States imported only 45 percent of the nation’s oil, due in great part to the extensive tight oil production in North Dakota and Texas.

But we should also agree that the public lands owned by all Americans are for multiple uses, including hunting, fishing, grazing, hiking, and recreation, and not just energy production. The Federal Land Policy and Management Act specifically defines the term “multiple use” as:

… the management of the public lands and their various resource values so that they are utilized in the combination that will best meet the present and future needs of the American people … with consideration being given to the relative values of the resources and not necessarily to the combination of uses that will give the greatest economic return or the greatest unit output.

A progressive approach to land management recognizes that land conservation is an essential element of the multiple-use mandate, and such lands are an important part of any comprehensive energy portfolio.

CAP Public Lands Project Director Christy Goldfuss testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Power. Read the testimony (CAP Action)

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