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Placing a moratorium on oil and gas drilling would drive up prices, harming the economy, and have no impact on climate change.

The head of a New York University program funded by “Keep It In the Ground” champion Michael Bloomberg told members of Congress this week that ending oil and natural gas development on federal lands – as advocated by activists and some Democratic presidential contenders – is “not a good way to go.”

When asked by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) about taking a KIITG approach to energy production on federal lands, State Energy & Environmental Impact Center Director David Hayes told the House Natural Resources Committee:

“The reality is that we have a lot of infrastructure on our public lands to produce oil and gas. It’s providing an important contribution to our economy.”

Pressed further by Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), Hayes – a former deputy Interior secretary in the Clinton and Obama administrations – reiterated his view on KIITG:

“It’s impractical and inappropriate to stop oil and gas drilling on our public lands and federal waters right now.”

Such a position seems to conflict with the views of KIITG activists who also testified during the committee hearing on climate and public health impacts from energy development, and with those of Bloomberg. The former New York mayor, whose $6 million grant helped start Hayes’ center at NYU, this year put $500 million into the Sierra Club’s campaign to halt the growth of natural gas.

The folly of such KIITG policies, however, came out in other testimony during this week’s committee hearing, where members of Congress heard that drilling on public lands boosts the U.S. economy, has very little effect on climate change and gives consumers a cleaner source of energy compared to producers in other countries.

Key Takeaway: Placing a moratorium on oil and gas drilling would drive up prices, harming the economy, and have no impact on climate change.

Drilling Boosts the Economy

Nicolas Loris of the Heritage Foundation said in his testimony,

“Expanding energy production on federal lands will lower energy bills and create jobs without having any meaningful impact on climate.”

Loris explored the topic of energy prices deeper in a response to a question on the impacts of immediately ending drilling on public lands, saying,

“If you’re raising energy prices on both the production side and the consumption side of the economy, that means businesses are going to pass those costs on to consumers.”

In addition to noting the economic benefits of cheaper energy, Loris also noted the societal benefits, explaining that revenue from production on federal and state-owned lands help states fund hospitals, schools and infrastructure projects.

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