Taking a moment away from the health care beat I wanted to highlight a couple of CBO graphs concerning energy exploration in the United States. They come from a report (pdf) taking a look at the budgetary impact of opening up most federal lands to oil and gas leases. As Brad Plumer reports, opening up most of what’s not already available might garner another seven billion in tax revenue over the next decade – chump change compared to the estimated 150 billion in total revenue over that same time period.
There is a reason any additional revenue would be that low:
Which is to say, most oil and natural gas on federal land is already available. When ‘energy hawks’ tirelessly complain that “if we just drilled in ANWR” everything would be okay, remember this graph. When they complain about certain offshore areas being “temporarily unavailable,” remember this graph. When they complain about certain onshore areas being “temporarily unavailable,” remember this graph.
Speaking of offshore areas, here is the other graph:
That dark blue sliver they point towards would be new areas available for leasing. Not exactly something I’d view as the promised land in energy independence. It’s also worth pointing out that the only bullet point Mitt Romney has for increasing domestic production is to “Open America’s energy reserves for development.” Would it increase production? Sure, a little bit (in 10-20 years). Would it make us energy independent? No. No it would not.