OPINION: Western Energy Alliance and the Petroleum Association of Wyoming Respond to Federal Oil and Gas Lease Ban Study

OPINION: Western Energy Alliance and the Petroleum Association of Wyoming Respond to Federal Oil and Gas Lease Ban Study


CASPER — A ban on oil and natural gas development on public lands by President-elect Joe Biden would severely harm the economies of eight western states, according to a Wyoming Energy Authority study conducted by University of Wyoming Professor Tim Considine.

Over the next four years, the human cost of fulfilling Biden’s campaign pledge would be an average of 72,818 fewer jobs annually. Lost wages would total $19.6 billion, economic activity would decline $43.8 billion, and tax revenues would drop $10.8 billion by the end of Biden’s first term in Alaska, California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. By 2040, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would decline by $670.5 billion and average annual job losses would exceed 351,000 across the West.

The following are comments from Western Energy Alliance and the Petroleum Association of Wyoming in response to the report.

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“President-elect Biden has had to face the reality that he can’t ban fracking nationwide, so he’s pledged to ban leasing and fracking on federal lands. A Biden ban would be devasting to the economies of western states by eliminating thousands of jobs just as Americans are struggling to recover from the pandemic,” said Kathleen Sgamma, president of Western Energy Alliance.

“He’s calculating that he won’t pay a political price while satisfying radical climate activists, but he would be sacrificing the livelihoods of thousands of westerners throughout many sectors of the economy,” Sgamma said. “We hope this report convinces him not to inflict economic pain on westerners. If he makes good on a Biden ban, the Alliance will be in court within hours.”

“This independent report confirms that President-elect Biden’s repeated calls for an end to natural gas and oil production on federal lands would have a crippling effect on Wyoming’s economy. Sacrificing Wyoming and her people for no measurable emissions improvement may be politically expedient, but PAW will fight it on behalf of the thousands of Wyomingites who make their living in this industry,” said Pete Obermueller, president of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming.

“PAW thanks Governor Gordon and the Wyoming Legislature for its vision on this issue and recognizing the need to arm ourselves with the most accurate and up to date data,” Obermueller said. “Dr. Considine’s study will allow industry, the State of Wyoming and our federal delegation to work together to ensure Wyoming is not left behind over the next four years.”

Wyoming, which ranks first in natural gas production on public lands and third in oil, would lose $138.3 billion in GDP over the next 20 years. Between 2021 and 2024, a drilling ban would eliminate:

  • 18,228 jobs on average each year
  • $10.6 billion in oil and natural gas investments
  • production valued at $3.8 billion
  • $2.1 billion in tax revenue to the state
  • $10.3 billion in GDP
  • $4.7 billion in wages.

Across the eight states that together provide over 97 percent of federal onshore production, closing off public lands over the next 20 years would result in:

  • Average annual job losses reaching 351,555 by years 2036 through 2040
  • GDP dropping by $670.5 billion
  • Oil and natural gas investment plummeting $389 billion, leading to a loss of $502.6 billion worth of production
  • The elimination of $159 billion in state tax revenues and $300 billion in lost wages.

The report entitled, “The Fiscal and Economic Impacts of Federal Onshore Leasing and Drilling Bans,” analyzes the economic impacts of two potential scenarios: a leasing moratorium and a ban on approving drilling permits. The full report is available online.

About PAW: Representing Wyoming’s primary economic engine, the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, is the voice of the oil and gas industry. Our members produce 90% of Wyoming’s oil and gas, generating over $5 billion in economic activity and employing more than 19,000 of Wyoming’s hard-working men and women. PAW strives to foster mutually beneficial relationships with Wyoming’s landowners, businesses, and communities while promoting the sustainable production of Wyoming’s abundant resources.

The Petroleum Association of Wyoming provides a forum for education, interaction, and unified action for members, policymakers, and the public.

About Western Energy Alliance: Western Energy Alliance represents 200 companies engaged in all aspects of environmentally responsible exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the West. Alliance members are independents, the majority of which are small businesses with an average of fourteen employees. Learn more at www.WesternEnergyAlliance.org.

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