A new analysis of government data by the Western Energy Alliance shows a 79 percent drop in the number of energy development leases offered by the federal government on public lands in the Rocky Mountain region states of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, New Mexico and Utah.
The U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the activities of energy firms seeking to find and develop oil and natural gas under public lands, has issued only 531 new leases in 2010, compared to 2,499 in 2005, according to WEA.
The data also show that under President Obama BLM has issued 76 percent fewer leases than was the case during the first two years of the Clinton administration and 71 percent fewer than during the first two years of the second Bush administration.
Federal revenues from these leases dropped from more than $189 million in 2005 to $101 million in 2010, a 46 percent decrease, according to WEA.
To put these figures into a national perspective, western lands account for 27 percent of all U.S. natural gas production and 14 percent of all oil. Almost half, 42 percent, of the oil and natural gas produced in the six western states came from leases on public lands.
Similar trends are seen in the Obama administration's administration of leasing in the country's off-shore and Outer Continental Shelf areas, with a result that energy costs more and more oil must be imported from overseas, mostly from countries that are hostile to legitimate U.S. foreign interests.
For more from WEA on these issues, go here.