Is Obama Responsible For Increased Domestic Oil Production?

According to this new ad from the Obama campaign, oil production is up in America thanks to President Obama’s policies:

It’s not surprising that the Obama administration would make this argument. Gas prices are going up, and the President is eager to deflect the blame.

While it’s certainly true that oil production is up overall from 2008 – 2011, that increase has come despite President Obama not because of him.

The President himself made this same claim during his State of the Union address, and at the time I posted out this chart from the Institute for Energy Research showing that oil leases, permits and wells on federal lands (where the President’s policies have the most control were down 44%, 39% and 39% (respectively) in 2009 – 2010 as compared to 2007 – 2008.

As you can see, the chart compares the decline in production on federal lands to the increase in production from North Dakota’s oil fields, which exist overwhelmingly on private land. Most of the rise in US oil production is the result of shale oil plays on private land like North Dakota’s, meaning the increase in oil production under Obama has happened despite the President’s policies, not because of them.

In fact, the President has been openly hostile to this sort of oil development. He supports changes to tax policy that would significantly reduce profit incentives for domestic oil production. Obama’s EPA has been making noises about a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (which has made the domestic energy boom possible) for some time now, and an Obama-appointed US prosecutor here in North Dakota has taken to filing absurd criminal charges against the oil companies operating here, something that has become an issue in the presidential campaign.

So no, President Obama doesn’t get the credit for the rise in domestic oil production.

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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