Protecting Our Public Lands Amid the Energy Boom

A new CAP report discusses why the federal government has to bridge the gap between oil and gas development and public demand for greater recreational opportunities and the protection of lands for future generations.

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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

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