What the National Petroleum Council Won't Tell You About A Natural Gas "Crisis"

88% of Federal Gas Reserves Already Open, 85% of Waiver Requests Already Granted; Now NPC Wants It All

(09/25/2003) - WASHINGTON --In the rush to blame temporary spikes in natural gas prices on environmental protections, the National Petroleum Council's gas supply report today will leave out a few inconvenient facts that undermine their core argument:
  • Eighty-eight percent of technically recoverable gas reserves on federal land are already available for leasing. The balance of twelve percent is in National Park Lands and other protected areas. Source: U.S. Dept. Of Interior, January 2003, http://www.doi.gov
  • Approximately eighty-five percent of oil industry requests for waivers from environmental stipulations on lease agreements were granted by BLM field offices in the Rocky Mountain Region.  Stipulations are terms, conditions, and promises included in a lease agreement that ensure other resources such as game and non- game wildlife are not degraded by energy extraction activities.
  • BLM recently proposed an astonishing 70,000 new oil and gas wells for the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana alone.  This would represent a seventy-five percent increase in wells operating and producing on all U.S. public lands combined.
  • The primary cause of natural gas price spikes is inadequate storage, not reasonable rules governing drilling on public land. See testimony from Goldman, Sachs & Co. Managing Director Dr. Jeffrey R. Currie before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on June 10, 2003.

"Big Oil's already got nearly nine tenths of the pie, and they think the Bush Administration is going to help them get the last slice," said Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife.


Defenders of Wildlife is a leading nonprofit conservation organization recognized as one of the nation's most progressive advocates for wildlife and its habitat. With more than 430,000 members and supporters, 90,000 in California alone, Defenders of Wildlife is an effective leader on endangered species issues. To stay current on hot topics in wildlife conservation, subscribe to DENlines, Defenders of Wildlife’s electronic update and action alert network. To subscribe to DENlines or for more information on Defenders of Wildlife projects, please visit www.defenders.org.



Brad DeVries, (202) 772-0237
William Lutz, (202) 772-0269