Oil production on federal lands topped 1 billion barrels in 2019, marking a 29% increase from the Obama administration, Department of the Interior officials announced Tuesday.
Technological advancements over the last decade in hydraulic fracturing helped drive the increase, as did President Donald Trump’s rollback of his Democratic predecessor’s environmental regulations. Production was up 122 million barrels from 2018, The Associated Press reported.
“You have to create an environment where folks want to bid on leases and then go develop them,” Acting Assistant Secretary of the Interior Casey Hammond told the AP. “One thing we can do as regulators is give people some assurances we’re going to work through the process in a fair and efficient way.”
The fracking boom, which began around 2009, collapsed the price of natural gas, giving public utilities a low-cost alternative fuel as regulations imposed by former President Barack Obama forced coal plants to install expensive equipment or retire. Fracking and the accompanying rules have provided a one-two punch to coal producers, while lifting the fortunes of gas and oil producers.
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