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The answer to energy independence, maybe
by Christina Rowland
Oct 25, 2012 | 510 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A pumpjack stays busy pulling crude from the ground at this location in Karnes County.
A pumpjack stays busy pulling crude from the ground at this location in Karnes County.
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SAN ANTONIO — Is the United States reaching total energy independence an achievable goal? Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich thinks it is, and he shared his thoughts and views during his closing speech at Hart Energy’s 2012 DUG Eagle Ford conference and exhibition Tuesday at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

“It was fascinating walking through the convention hall looking at various aspects of what goes into an energy revolution, all the different services, all the different activities, all the different requirements to bring this together to make it real,” he told the audience.

“...what you are doing here is historic. It is an opportunity to re-center the United States as the largest oil producer in the world; we are already the largest gas producer in the world. It is an opportunity to eliminate peak oil and peak gas from our vocabulary,” he said.

His solution to eliminating “peak” is leasing federal lands for oil and gas exploration.

Gringich, a Republican candidate for the presidential nomination this year, told the audience that about a year ago he went to Scott Noble of Noble Royalties to help him find a solution.

He was looking for facts that said leasing of public lands for exploration would bring in money not only to stimulate the economy but to give the U.S. more energy so the need to rely on foreign sources for energy needs would decrease.

Noble Royalties went to work finding the information he needed. The company hired “well-respected third party professionals with a broad knowledge of activity on federal lands to produce an unbiased report.”

The third party research group was not named during the presentation, but Gingrich said the group based the report on data from U.S. Federal Land Sources.

The findings were presented to the audience in PowerPoint form while the speakers explained.

The presentation stated that the amount of federal land leased has been steadily decreasing since the early 1980s to the tune of an 86 percent decrease since the Reagan administration.

Gingrich invited Noble to explain his findings and the model he used to get there.

“We never used a model, never leased more than we have leased historically and never had a cumulative acreage more than we had leased, so we are not asking anything in this model to be done that we have not done before prior in American history,” Nobel explained.

The presentation claimed that bringing the land leasing amounts back to where they once were would bring in $243.7 billion in royalties and bonuses between 2012 and 2042 in just Alaska alone. Additional money would be brought in by leasing lands in the lower 48 states and in the Gulf of Mexico.

The extra money brought in by leasing the lands could be used to help balance the federal budget.

The increase in leasing would have a trickle down effect that would increase the jobs and ultimately lead to an economic stimulation.

The findings in the initial study surprised the group so much that they formed the New American Energy Opportunity Foundation (NAEOF), which is “dedicated to empowering citizens and lawmakers to make the changes needed for the United States to reach its full energy production potential, creating more jobs, lower prices and greater national security,” according to its website.

The NAEOF, headed by Martin Flemming, an executive at Noble Resources, conducted a phone survey asking citizens their opinions. The results indicated the nation might be ready to hear more about energy independence and what needs to be done to achieve it.

Of the 801 people surveyed, 80 percent supported or somewhat supported “increasing domestic oil and natural gas production here in the U.S.” and 67 percent strongly supported or somewhat supported leasing more federal land for energy exploration and development.”

The goal of both Gingrich and NAEOF is to get out their message to people and let them see there could be a brighter future in America if energy exploration is handled correctly.

“This was not possible 10 years ago, because we didn’t have enough (factual) evidence, but now it is so overwhelming that even fairly liberal people are beginning to break down and say, ‘yeah, I think that is the future,’” Gingrich said.

He ended his speech by taking questions from the audience on anything participants wanted to ask, whether it related to his message or not.

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