Thursday, November 03, 2011

Let's sell federal lands to the oil companies

Federal ownership of vast, unproductive acreage contributes to our insolvency as well as offers a partial remedy to our government indebtedness and ability for America to gain a measure of energy self sufficiency. Nearly 30 percent (about 650 million acres) of our national land mass of 2.3 billion acres is in federal lands. Another 8.6 percent is owned by local and state governments. Additionally, there is another 1.76 billion acres of taxpayer-owned lands offshore available for energy production. Suppose, for instance, that 10 percent of the 650 million acres — 65 million acres — would be offered for sale only to domestic energy companies. Of course, each parcel sold would need to be priced at its respective market value and evaluated so as to weigh its comparative merits for producing energy versus being preserved for environmental or scenic value. For the sake of illustration, if these tracts were sold for an average of $1,500 per acre, the resulting revenue to repay our hemorrhaging national debt would be in the range of $97.5 trillion. This strategy is altogether reasonable. Liquidation of assets occurs regularly in the private sector. In fact, it generally is demanded by creditors when borrowers have defaulted. In the case of the federal government, there is an increasing queue of creditors. Taxpayers effectively are creditors who are beginning to demand that government's unchecked spending and over-regulation of energy exploration and production be brought under control...more


lamb said...

While we are at it, why not sell the DOI-BLM land to the ranchers and farmers to reduce the debt?

johnr said...

Good idea on both suggestions and in fact this was supposed to happen many years ago, but never did as we all well know.