Consumer group calls untapped domestic oil and gas resources “a game-changer” for the economy

HOUSTON – November 19, 2009   This week, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) released a comprehensive, independent, long-term analysis of U.S. energy policy. The study, sponsored in part by the non-profit Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) and conducted jointly by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and Gas Technology Institute (GTI), finds that if status quo energy policies are maintained – namely a federal moratorium on responsible, 21st century offshore energy development – U.S. dependence on OPEC nations will increase, more American jobs will be moved overseas and overall expenses will rise for American consumers.

In 2007, NARUC adopted a resolution to initiate an independent analysis of the social, economic and environmental effects associated with keeping the outer continental shelf (OCS) off-limits for oil and gas exploration. While congressional and presidential moratoria were lifted last year following record oil prices, a de facto ban remains intact as a result of inaction from the U.S. Department of Interior.

David Holt, president of CEA, released this statement today:

“A clear and growing majority of American consumers continue to favor policies, including responsible offshore energy exploration, that would help drive down and stabilize energy prices across the board. And this study should serve as a wake-up call for elected officials in Washington to act boldly and move forward to develop comprehensive energy policies that will spur economic development, create jobs and get the nation moving again. Developing domestic energy resources offshore – oil, gas, wind, tidal – safely and responsibly must be a national priority.

“And at the same time, we must continue to make key investments into alternative resources and commonsense conservation efforts. Because for every barrel of oil and every trillion cubic feet of natural gas that we produce here at home, by blue collar American labor, American consumers are less energy-dependant on other nations.

“This study paints a clear and equally frightening picture of the dangerous consequences of the federal government keeping so much of our job-creating energy off-limits. With unemployment at a 26-year high, and families, seniors and small businesses fighting to makes ends meet, opening our outer continental shelf for environmentally-sound energy production could be the game-changer our weakened economy desperately needs.”

Here are key highlights from the independent study:

  • Cumulative domestic oil and natural gas production decreases by 21% and 10%, respectively.
  • Average natural gas price increases by 28% and average gasoline price increases by 8.4%.
  • Cumulative national real disposable income decreases by $1.163 Trillion ($4,000 per capita).
  • Cumulative oil imports from OPEC countries increase by 4.1 billion barrels.
  • Cumulative national payments to OPEC countries increase by $607 billion.