While the Obama Administration is lollygagging regarding opening federal lands to oil and gas development, its Interior Department has been active in approving renewable projects on federal lands. As part of President Obama’s alleged “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, the U.S. Interior Department approved 27 wind, solar and geothermal projects on public lands since 2009, and the agency has an additional 17 projects to review this year.[i]
Unfortunately President Obama’s “all-of-the-above” energy plan, while a catch phrase that seems inclusive, does not cover oil and natural gas production on about 95 percent of federal lands and is hostile to coal use. For example, federal waters opened to oil and natural gas production in 2008 by President Bush and Congress are not included in the President’s 2012 to 2017 offshore leasing plan.[ii] In practical terms, the Offshore Drilling Moratorium in place between 1981 and 2008 will remain in place until at least 2017 under the Obama Administration leasing plans.